Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl

Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl book reviews

Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl

This blog is shaping up into the following credo – “Things that make you go – hrmmm…”  Basically, if it makes you think, or you have to engage your brain to consume it then it is fascinating to me.  So with that in mind I bring you my Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl trifecta!  Each one is all goodness and light.  They are each books that will have you guessing to the end.  Books choc full of good characters, amazing story lines and holy cow plot twists.  Promise.  And they are all by female authors that I would give my left leg to write half as well as they do.  Seriously.  My left leg.  Or right one really, now that I think about it.  I mean, ’cause once you lose your left one, it might as well be your right one.  You know?  It really is neither here or there.


These writers are not authors. Never mind the book tours. The new books. All those writing bits strung together and assembled. Nope. These authors aren’t authors – they are electronauts. I don’t even know what that means exactly, but that is what they are. If you happen to know any of these three writers, please let them know that Taylor Holmes believes they are an Electronaut. Thanks for that.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl Book ReviewsGillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, is the first of our Electronauts to review here. And she makes me smile just thinking about her. Buckle up because you are about to go places you’ve never gone before in a novel. We have ourselves an amazing story, so full of twists and turns I can’t really even tell you what happens beyond page 20. First reveal is cool. “Oh, I see where she’s goin!” Then the second reveal is – woahh… “OOOOHHH I see where she’s goin here!” Third, Fourth and Fifth reveal are mental mind jobs that are a wonder to behold.

This story is so fantastically plotted that I’m jones’n to talk to someone who’s read it just to laugh together with them and commiserate about the plot twists and turns. But, alas, I don’t even want to come close to spoiling any of this fantastic story. So if you’ve read the book and want to talk over that way so none of these blokes can hear us, I’m totally up for that!

“BUT COME ON MAN GIVE ME SOMETHINK!” I hear you yelling at the top of your lungs at the screen in your best British accent (everything is better in your best British accent, always remember that.) Alright, here’s what I’ll give you. I’ve been dead to fiction for the better part of two years. Sure, I’ve read a ton (maybe even a literal ton, though they’ve all been read on my iPad, so what is the weight of a 1 and a 0 I ask you?) of fiction over the past two years. But there was one book that absolutely ruined me for fiction. And that was a wee little book called The Passage by Justin Cronin. The Passage was so good – such an elevated level of writing, story and plotting that I’ve just hated nearly everything I’ve read since then. But not anymore. Now I have a reason to read again.

But here’s what I’ll really give you – Nick & Amy Dunne.

These are two of the greatest characters I’ve had the wonderful priveledge of interacting with on the page in years. Nick is all kinds of witty and funny. Amy is about as wicked-clever I’ve ever read. The two together are literally dynamite. Ok? Is that enough? How about the fact that Gillian has given me hope in fiction again? How about the fact that the switchbacks in the plotting of Gone Girl are so ahead of you that you will wonder if Gillian hasn’t been hiding up in your tree looking in on you as you read, rewriting the entire thing as you go in the hopes of just staying ahead of you specifically. I’m serious. She is wicked wicked smart. And a joy, a real joy to read I tell you. Don’t miss out on Gone Girl.

Before I Sleep by S. J. Watson

Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl book reviews

Class.  Thanks for joining us in this session entitled, “Soul Ripping Book Beginnings 101”.  Our first example is a book called the Drowning People by Richard Mason wherein the narrator admits to cold heartedly killing his wife moments before and is just waiting for the police to arrive.  Great start that.  But not to be outdone, we are given Before I Sleep.  S. J. Watson gives us a narrator that cannot remember anything before she woke up that day.  She begins piecing her life back together through the use of a journal.  Over the first page has been scrawled, “Don’t Trust Ben.”  Ben, class, is the character’s husband.  Right.

Watson’s “Before I Sleep” is a disorienting ride from stem to stern but an equal companion to Gone Girl in every way. Christine always having forgotten everything before that day causes a great deal of disorientation as to what may or may not be going on. We are reading through the eyes of a very flawed character who may or may not be all there. And as we begin to peal back the onion you begin to get something of a more firm footing through Christine’s journal that she writes as she learns more and more. And as you learn more, something is definitely not right here on the home front. But what is it?! What is going on!?

Before I sleep lacks the pyrotechnic characters of Gone Girl and Dare Me. But what it lacks in characters in definitely makes up in plotting and style. It is a very very cleverly crafted novel that will unwind on you before you fully piece it all together. One fantastic surprise after another.

I remember at one point while reading this book I counted the number of theories I had as to what could possibly happening and I came up with seven. SEVEN! And none of them were even right. Hahah. Seriously. “Oh, I know… what if, and what about… I think that maybe what happened, no actually better yet… And what if?… And oh my!!!…” Was how the entire book played out in my mind. It was a fantastically plotted debut for a new author on the scene. I’m excited to see what he’ll do next. I’ve already got a number of alerts set up for his follow on novel that is for sure.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Dare Me Before I Sleep and Gone Girl book reviewsWhen I finished Before I Sleep I read two other novels about characters with fallable memories. They were fun. But nothing really that exciting. Definitely not worth mentioning here. Then again, after reading Gone Girl I did the same thing… I went looking for similar books. And when I came across Gone Girl I knew I’d struck gold a second time only after a couple pages in.

With Dare Me we are confronted with High School girls that a very very poorly adjusted. We are talking about girls with zero parental involvement. Girls with only one concern – absolutely rocking their cheerleader strut as the rest of the school watches on with awe. I personally could care less about cheerleaders. But this book takes the “popular girls” books in a totally different direction. She infiltrates the cheerleading inner sanctum and dissects it from the inside out.

Each character is as flawed as they are beautiful. Our narrator, Addy, is a chameleon of a person. Mindlessly shadowing whoever might be leading at that moment. For most of her shapeshifting life she’s patterned her life after the Cheer Captain. But now that there is a new captain arriving on the scene we see these life long allegiences completely rearranging. And these new plate tectonics are bound to cause some heavy weight type rumblings. And sure enough they do.

The only thing I will say about the plot beyond that is that we soon find ourself with a potential suicide on our hands. And remember the plate tectonics thing? Welp, I’m sure pangea wasn’t without its pain, and so we have all kinds of madness going on around the death of this character. It is explosive. Plotting is as good here as in the other two – but the real stand out are the characters and their rocket fast ride we have on our hands. I never knew cheerleader politics could be such an engaging backstory for a death, suicide, murder… its just brilliant.

Book Round Up

So at the end of the day – what do we have here?  I personally think we have the new craze in literature.  Strong women characters.  Flawed in every way.  Pwning anyone that is dumb enough to head their direction.  I personally am pretty excited about this new direction in fiction.  Bold.  Bright.  Loud and audacious.  Let me know if you disagree.  Love to hear if you’ve read any of these already or if you have thoughts on them!