For anyone who read my review of The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first installment in this detective series, you’ll understand that it’s with a heavy heart that I have to confess that this sequel fell short for me.
Characteristics I noticed in J.K.’s writing from the first book, but chose to ignore, was one of the main reasons this book grated on me. This may be a controversial statement given her extreme popularity with all the HP lovers, but I really found her writing quite pretentious. There were times I was scratching my head as to why she chose to use these long meandering words when one short one that would create the same effect would do. Is she trying to prove how smart she is?
I’m sorry, that may sound harsh but it really started to grate on my nerves. There was a sense of the story seeming over written, too formal and wordy and it really did my head in at times.
The story itself, being reunited with Cormoran Strike once again was obviously what kept me reading. The actual plot was okay, but not as interesting or investing as the first novel. The disappearance and then murder of little known author Owen Quine has Strike on the case and I enjoyed getting to see Cormoran back in action, but the actual mystery was kind of boring. None of the characters drew me in or were nearly as compelling as the characters in the Cuckoo’s Calling. They all fell flat and I didn’t really feel for anyone.
I even lost a bit of respect for Strike, but honestly I think this was down to the way he was portrayed due to J.K.’s uneven writing. He seemed more like a cardboard cutout of a detective than in the first novel when I was hoping to get a bit more from his character, learn more about him, delve a bit deeper. I honestly would have expected this of an author like J.K. Rowling but several of her characters seemed one dimensional. Especially Robin, Strike’s protege who Strike claims is smart and not fussy or demanding, but who gets all weepy and annoyed and gives him the silent treatment when he doesn’t respond to a question the way she’d like, or snaps at her because he’s in his own head, or doesn’t even do anything at all! She gets mad at Strike when she’s annoyed at her fiance for being a jerk! Robin isn’t as easy going or carefree as she is described, her actions make her seem really needy and docile and frankly hard work. Again down to the writing.
I know this all seems very harsh and I guess I’m only now realising how much certain things annoyed be while reading this book. Because of how lauded and author J.K. Rowling is, I expect more. I expect deeper characterisation, I expect continuity in character and I would expect the way a character is described to match the way they act. All this was missing a bit for me in The Silkworm. It’s really unfortunate given how excited I was to get my hands on this book.
I’ll still read the next book and I did enjoy this one to a certain extent, but unlike the first in the series, the story wasn’t enough for me to ignore the finer points of irritation