Let me start by saying that Watson's previous novel was always my go to suggestion for friends asking for recommendations on a great read. I thought it was original and compelling---all the things Second Life is not. I wish I had read the reviews on this book before I purchased it, because I agree with many of them. (Unfortunately I blindly ordered Second Life the minute I could simply on the reputation of Watson's previous work.) The main character is not like able, and I struggled to like any of the supporting cast as well! The writing was terrible, the dialogue awful (I'm not from England, but really does everyone say "darling" in every other sentence?) In the end I clenched my teeth and forced myself to finish this book hoping there would be an exciting twist or payoff to make reading it worth it. There was not. In fact the book simply ended as if even Watson grew tired of the chaotic mess and gave up. I download on average 2-3 books a week and have never before left a review. I mention this in closing just to emphasize how strongly I hope to dissuade others from wasting money on this novel.
This book tries so hard to be a gripping novel, but it never surpasses the "scary story by the campfire" level, despite a new plot twist at nearly every chapter. It's so implausible it makes Spanish novellas for television look like Shakespeare. It's hard to sympathize with the main character, Julia, as she is just so dumb. No woman would be that dumb to make the choices she did while having an affair unless she wanted it to be reported by Fox News?! The unlikelihood of her sister becoming pregnant by Julia's ex-lover and then over a decade later by mere fate becoming roommates with the sister of the ex-lover is so juvenile I expected this to become a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" book at any moment. Also, if the author is going to use foreign phrases such as trainers when referring to the converse shoes, the author should then call the sweater a jumper within the same sentence?! I feel like I've read a book written by an extremely talented student in a high-school creative writing class, but not a book worthy of being called one of "2015's Must Reads".
I could not put this book down from start to finish and even once I read the very last sentence, I was still craving more. This is a book that will fully engulf you in the plot and characters and make you question everything you thought you once knew especially about technology. It will leave you feeling a bit concerned about what kind of pictures or videos are out there circulating and how could someone use them against you if they saw fit? How far would you go to save your family and your reputation?
But seriously, how can the author leave me hanging like thAt? I need to know what happened? Did she kill her sisters roomie or did she kill herself?! How can I go on not knowing?
Let’s rename this - “The Most Unrealistic Group of Coincidences.” 90% of the book is decent. The main character is annoying, naive and basically stupid. But, I looked past that. Then I got to the end. Did the author not know how to finish? Was the ending her plan the entire time? Because it is simply awful. She tries to make a scumbag that you have really disliked the entire book look redeemable, when he’s done nothing to earn that. The main character is about to do something at the end in front of her son that is simply ridiculous and completly unbelievable that a real mother would do that. And spoiler...there is no spoiler. The author doesn’t even wrap up the story. Dumb. Sorry I wasted my time.
Going for 3.5 total stars on this one. Like many, I was eagerly anticipating the second book from S.J. Watson, having devoured his first, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP. I'd be less-than honest if I said this book was just as great. It just isn't/wasn't. At least for me. And it seems many other reviewers feel similarly.
The writing is fast-paced and that kept me turning the pages, but isn't not exactly deep or laced with any meaning. And in some places, it's downright choppy. I like prose to have a little subtext. In that sense, it reminds me a bit of Harlan Coben--which may be a bit flattering for some. And then, the book got a little boring--not slow, just "what's this about--it seems different than what I was promised." [e.g. a woman having an affair--what does that have to do with the overall plot?].
Some twists I figured out well ahead of time...and then the end comes in a sort of haze, things aren't always what they seem...or are they...and then the last page totally left me dry.
Still, I will say there's a lot to be admired about SECOND LIFE: many of the plot-points are spot-on with the insurgence of the Internet, on-line dating, the dangers that lurk behind screens. It's a great beach read, but not nearly as psychologically-driven as I was hoping for.
Find all of my reviews, including author interviews at www.leslielindsay.com
I love the premise of Second Life. S.J. Watson does a great job of getting into the head of Julia, who has a dark past and an even darker present as she investigates the murder of her sister. The characters are terrific, though our heroine makes one crazy decision after the next. You want to just shake her...Lukas starts out as a sexy diversion, then turns into something very different. Great twist.
Unfortunately, I was able to figure out a number of pivotal moments. The book started to feel very predictable until the ending just went off the rails (in my view). WHAT?~?~? Suffice to say I just about threw the book across the room when I finished it. That said, it was a decent read and one that leaves more questions than answers.
I have to admit there were moments I was on the edge of my seat, but in the end, there were just too many coincidences to swallow. At some point, every character switches personalities without warning. There’s no natural conclusion; the characters have to explain how it all fits together by means of rushed dialogue to end the story. It’s far-fetched and cheap. Very disappointing.