Probably every book lover I know has recommended this series to me and I get why. We’re really hard on Hollywood movies for their saminess, but books are no different. It is extremely rare to read something really new. This is that book.
Plot: Honestly it doesn’t matter, this book isn’t about plot, but broadly it’s about a brilliant woman born in a time and place where women weren’t really given the space to be brilliant. Most stories, would focus on this brilliant woman overcoming all odds and becoming beloved, successful, and probably happily married. This is not that story. In fact, this story starts at the end of her life, after she erases herself from existence and vanishes into thin air. The book is in fact written by her life long best friend, though they are friends only in the way in which you are friends with people because they are the least offensive people nearby rather than an active affection for one another. The book is written out of spite, because she resents that her friend’s desire to not only get a new start somewhere else, but her desire to vanish as if she’d never been born.
This book shows you the proverbial car accident and then takes you on the long drive you know ends there.
It shows you how the world takes brilliance and crushes it down into dust, and that in most cases, the individual does not prevail against a society bent on homogeneity. That you can learn to hate the things that make you special because if you’re born into the wrong circumstances, the same thing that makes you exceptional makes you unable to lead any kind of happy life. You are trapped meandering through life alternating between being numb and explosively angry.
This is not a happy book. It took me a really long time to read. As much as I appreciate the artistry of it, I probably won’t pick up the next one. Not at all because of the book, but just because at this point in my life, I gravitate towards optimistic books only. If I want pessimism, I’ll read the news. Still, I completely understand the devotion of fans to the author and the book. It is entirely unlike anything I’d read before and if you’re looking for something really new, but that is still set in the lives of normal folk going around just living their lives (unlike, say, The Night Circus, which is also very novel, but is set in a completely fantastical world), this is your new catnip. And it’s a series. You’re welcome.