The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Like so many others, I bought The Shining Girls having heard it was the new Gone Girl. Which I loved.

I was underwhelmed by this though, probably because of that very recommendation. For me, Gone Girl was twist after twist, endless suspense, and although I was physically capable of putting it down,  until I was allowed to pick it back up again. I just didn’t feel that way about The Shining Girls.

I did really enjoy the novel in general. I thought Harper was an interesting character, especially in conjunction with the House. I think I would have liked a resolution, or should I say an explanation on how it appeared, how sentient it was. Clearly (I think) Harper did not use his knowledge of the House to create the house, or if he  decided against including it in the story. Maybe there’s a sequel there.

I also enjoyed the concept of the story, a time-travelling serial killer, who finds a House containing objects belonging to the ‘shining girls’, who he feels compelled to murder, taking an object, leaving an object. However, I think I found Kirby a bit weak as a character. The disappointing mother background, moving from town to town, was a bit generic, and it wasn’t really clear who she was outside of the fact that she survived a murder. I found some of the other victims much more compelling, especially Catherine, the girl who stopped shining. I also would have liked more on Harper’s relationship with Etta. It was interesting to think of him having met a potential partner, and I thought it was unfortunate for that to have been cut off so quickly.

This has come out far more critical than I expected and it’s probably not a fair example on how I felt about this book. I did enjoy reading it, I just wasn’t compelled by it.


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