Friday, February 8, 2013

And Then There Were None Book Review

Rawr Reader, 

     So I just finished And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and wowie! there's a bunch to say. First, here's the synopsis provided by Goodreads about this murder mystery: 

"Ten . . ." Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen." 

"Nine . . ." At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. 

"Eight . . ." Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . one by one they begin to die. 

"Seven . . ." Who among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

    I had never heard of Agatha Christie until a little under a month ago. I was watching Doctor Who (if you haven't seen this TV show, I highly recommend it for any sci-fi/fantasy/adventure fans of accents and talent out there) and I was watching the episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp" which mentioned and involved a certain author. This particular episode revolved around a murder mystery that so happened to include yes, Agatha Christie, as one of the party guests. 
    In real life, Ms. Christie is one of the most published authors of all time, beaten only by the sales of the Bible and Shakespeare. Naturally, the avid book reader I am, I absolutely had to see why she was deemed such a successful author. So I searched through Goodreads (the Facebook for readers in my humble opinion) for her highest rated novels and this was one of them. Now on to my review. 

(safe for those who haven't read the book yet) 
    I must admit to you, that this is my first time reading a murder mystery novel. I've read books in the past that have concerned mysteries before but an actual genre mystery novel? None. This is my first. And for this I was excited. Who better to start than with a legend!
    In the synopsis it states how it concerns ten strangers so I was overwhelmed when she began introducing all the characters. I was supposed to expect that right? Well, yes, but in real life I have trouble remembering names so in a book I found it just as difficult. I found it hard to keep track of people since I felt she was just throwing names at me, so I eventually got to writing down their names and their professions (something I started to do thanks to my mom which, laugh all you want, actually helps!) *dramatic gasp*
    As a college student, my priorities are schoolwork and reading for my classes, so I had a rocky start with this novel. Reading in between classes, on the bus ride home, and a little before I went to bed, I wasn't consistent with the story and I felt the beginning was slow. It would sort of get interesting, until the first murder finally happened! My heart skipped a beat—yes, finally the story takes off! Right? Nope, it continued back to it's slow pace not long after. A couple days passed and I read a little more and I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a roller coaster with my anticipation to continue and then not, but it was more like little hills. I'm excited but then not but then was. Ay ya ya!
    It wasn't until the fourth death, a little over half way through the book I'd say it then grew impossible to put down. Ms. Christie's language from narration to dialogue flowed so smoothly I felt myself stepping into the world of the novel and I don't know about you, but as huge admirer of books and stories as I am, that's one of the best feelings I can possibly get as a reader. And I believe an author strives for their readers to exist in their worlds as much as they do whilst creating them, so to Ms. Christie, I stand and give you a round of applause.
    The story itself, oh dearie me, I actually wasn't expecting it to be so complicated yet simultaneously so cleverly predictable. And this is the first time in my memory that I can recall actually getting goosebumps while reading a book. It wasn't a continuous feeling throughout reading but there was one moment of suspense that came and I was like ooooohhhhhh! Suspense, I love it so much and more in a murder mystery than any other genre, I find it even more appropriate for me to have gotten chills. 
    She successfully wraps up the entire story and it just leaves me with a feeling of rereading the novel to see the little things I didn't notice reading the first time. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Clue (another movie I highly recommend), that involves the same sort of plot, strangers in an unfamiliar, secluded location with murders occurring left and right, only there's no way of knowing who the culprit is as the night progresses. In the ATTWN, the culprit suspects grows as more and more murders occur (though it still is ambiguous who the real murderer is until the end.)
    I didn't find much of a theme in this book but this: don't kill anyone or you'll get what's coming for ya. (Silly, but I couldn't find one the first time reading, maybe the next time. My head's still spinning!) :P 

 I'd give this fabulous book 5/5 stars and would definitely recommend this to anyone. Not suggested for young kids due to some description of the murders but she doesn't go into deep detail. 

“To all those who lead monotonous lives in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure." 
-[author's dedication] 
Agatha Christie, The Secret Adversary 

If You'd Like to Check out my Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

River Song's Spoilers: 

(unsafe those who haven't read the book yet, so don't read this section
    Okay, to start, my guesses who the mass murderer was jumped around a lot. I thought it might be Mr. Rogers, Justice Wargrave, Dr. Armstrong, Blore, Lombard (my favorite character,) Brent, or Vera. Yes, that's practically all of them, but as the story kept progressing without Ms. Christie revealing who the murderer even might possibly be (you bully Ms. Christie) ;) it kept jumping from one person to another (specifically when whoever I thought the murderer might be was killed off.) I need to tell you, I accidentally saw who the murderer was at the end because I foolishly thought the book ended after the epilogue and thought the "A Manuscript Document Sent to Scotland Yard" section was an excerpt from another one of her novels. So yes, I saw the last two words: Justice Wargrave. Immediately after reading those words, I almost smacked my forehead due to my horrible occasional habit of glancing at the final page.
    Anyways, I continued to read that last chapter of the book and as I said before, she just flawlessly was able to bring together all the missing pieces of the stranger's pasts and murders throughout the story that I felt like it was letting out a great sigh of satisfaction after finally reaching the top of the mountain and capturing the sight before you. (Weird analogy but go with me here.) The novel wasn't hard to read (though yes there were some words I forgot the definition of) but after a read like that, with all the suspense and action in the story, I needed to just really clear my mind and think about the incredible complexity of Ms. Christie's mind to produce something like this. Oh I just love it so much!! 
    My favorite character was Lombard. Hands down, he was the only one I could tolerate and even though there were a couple times I thought even he might be the murderer, I still proudly claimed him as my favorite. The deal with his revolver and his tenacious claim on it just made him a more well-rounded character in my eyes in a book where there are a ton of main characters and it's hard to really get to know each one on a deeper level.
    I liked Blore, I felt like he was Lombard's BFF in a way. Even though I had a rough start because of the confusion of him claiming to be Davis in the beginning and then him revealing to be an ex-cop. But I never got to a point that I detested him like this next character. 
    Vera Claythorne reminded me of a cat while it's scared, with hair on end. She reacted ridiculous throughout the story as Ms. Christie splendidly showed the reader and while I really liked how Ms. Christie let the reader get into Vera's thoughts and how her past haunted her, I still couldn't find anything admirable about her. After the first couple of deaths, I was waiting for her to go. I guess I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was that she would be the one to survive last! But alas, she did—minus Wargrave of course but I didn't know at the time. When she pulled the revolver from Lombard I was like NO! NOT HIM! But no, she just had to be a witch and shoot him. Whatever, Ms. Christie supported my theory she was crazy when she kept thinking she saw Hugo after becoming victor and hung herself. 
    Justice made me suspicious of course since he figured out Mr. U.N. Owen turned out to be the clever UNKNOWN (again I applaud Ms. Christie) and then have this condescending air about him suggesting the things he did like how he just sat on the patio and watched them all freak out about the two murders and how he knew who was where and what was happening and had a good idea who the murderer was (nice on your part Wargrave you bastard you.) I just wasn't a fan of him even before the end. When he was the fifth murder, I was surprised. I admit it! I was not expecting him to go since he had such a clever theory on the murder psycho rampaging about. I thought he might somehow avoid getting killed and would be one of the last somehow, even though he was older than most of the party. But when his manuscript came at the end and explained it all, I had to clap for his brilliance. Even though I knew if he were a real person he would just be smug about it, I had to give credit to where credit was due. 

Until Next Time, 

Nicole Ciel

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