By Delia Owens
With all the hype around this book, I really thought it was going to be better than it was. The way Owens transforms Kya as you read is unrealistic, there are just no other words for it. I had to keep bringing myself to remember that the girl halfway through the book is the same six-year-old “swamp rat” in the beginning. It had you rooting for Kya throughout it, of course, but it just lacked something there for me. Owens is a very literary author, the sentences and metaphors are always intentional. Literary devices are sprinkled throughout the entire book, leaving little treats to read as you go along. At least, for the imagery anyway. I can’t say the same for the characters.
The way the story is paced and the way each chapter is setup between different years makes sense. It builds tension extremely well through this setup. We get bits and pieces here and there. Tension is what this book does best, especially in those last few chapters, but I’ll touch on that more in a little bit.
While I loved the pacing, and the imagery is top-notch, I do have some qualms with the story. This is where it really let me down. The main issue I had with this book is Kya’s intelligence didn’t seem realistic to me. I get it, she raised herself in the marsh and had to learn things that normal people wouldn’t. She also had a passion for nature that most people wouldn’t, as it was the only thing that ever truly loved her. I get those things, I do. But the way she is a genius just didn’t sit well with me. She didn’t even learn how to read until she was 14, and then within a couple of years she was a published author and titled “biology professional”? I don’t know, man. I also didn’t like the love stories. I thought they were also pretty unrealistic, and I was never fully enveloped in either of them.
The one shining part in this book, though, was the tension. Owens really builds the tension in the final court scenes. The feeling, the imagery, I really liked those. And it was a fun intellectual who-dun-it type of feel. That, aside from the imagery, was the shining star of the book.
I would like to rate this book higher than I do, but I can’t get around it. I would give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I think if the imagery wasn’t there, and the court scene wasn’t written so well, this book wouldn’t be 90% of what it is. I just can’t seem to get over Kya’s intelligence. It just didn’t sit well with me.
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