It does have a lot going for it, and I now understand why it has been such a rage. Quite a fresh take on the amnesia thriller, the author makes it easy to connect with Rachel, with whom the story begins – she is the girl on the train. Through her eyes, we see the other characters. The build up in the initial pages – we know something is about to happen – is done really well, and while the multi -first person narrative is not new, the skill with which it has been wielded deserves a thumbs up. It is not just the shift in perspective and the fresh format, but the timing of it that makes the whole thing work. A lot of work seems to have gone into Rachel’s character and the gamut of emotions one feels for her is proof that it is a job well done! But..
In the end, I think it was the expectations that spoiled it for me a bit. That, and the length. The immediate comparison was with the other girl – Gone Girl. I’d totally loved its unpredictability. In this case, there just aren’t enough twists to warrant 300+ pages. Actually, the pace towards the end is fantastic – I read the last 100 pages in one go – but I felt that all of that could have been made more gripping.
I also felt that the other characters were too ‘thin’ when compared to Rachel’s. Even when the layers are being introduced, the sharpness that makes it exciting is missing. Maybe that is by design – to have some level of ambiguity and secrecy in order to keep the plot intact – but it somehow took away from the overall structure. The other thing that didn’t really work for me was the limited set of characters. It really made the outcome predictable. The ‘extras’ who add to the plot to a limited extent, were fairly obvious.
In essence, it is a good read and will serve you really well during a short trip!