The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

Shining GirlsThis is a novel that I had seen all over my internets, and everyone had been really really excited about it. So when I had the opportunity to be first on the holds list for it at my library, you know I took it. And when I needed a break from the YA, time-travelling serial killers sounded like the perfect fit.

Yes, you read that right. There are two main characters whose points of view (all third-person, if you care about things like that) the story is told from, and one of them happens to be a time-travelling serial killer. It’s weirder than that, though, as said killer travels through time via a strange house that spits him out where he needs to be, and when he gets to the house the first time his list of targets and trophy stash are already in place. Because time travel.

The other main character is one of the killer’s targets, whom he has failed to kill. She’s got crazy issues, of course, and she takes on an internship at a Chicago newspaper (in 1993, so it’s not that weird!) partly to have access to the information she needs to be able to solve her own murder (her words) and possibly the murders of other young women in similar circumstances.

The narration jumps back and forth in time, as you might expect, and so we figure out what’s going on in fits and starts and with some really really interesting scenes just left in the middle of the book to frustrate you (okay, me) until they are eventually resolved. I, as you may expect, LOVE this fact.

I also really liked how the characters were written, fleshed out enough to get them through each little chapter but mysterious enough to leave me wondering about them even at the end. And I definitely cared about all of the characters, especially the victims but even a little bit the killer, who I hoped would maybe get over his batshit craziness because he seemed like… not a decent guy, maybe, but a guy who could be decent if given a house that told him to do good things, you know?

The only part of the story that I didn’t absolutely love was the end, which veered wildly off the course I had set for it and defied my expectations in good and not-good ways. There’s one piece of resolution that both makes perfect sense and no sense, and while I’m pretty sure it falls in the “good ways” camp, it’s going to take me a while to really wrap my head around it.

This is definitely one of those books where I need someone to go and read it right now and then come back and talk to me about how crazy it all is, so if you could get on that, that would be great!

Recommendation: For lovers of multi-narrator stories and stories that break your brain a little bit and people not too squicked out by violence and gore, because oh, yeah, there’s rather a bit of that.

Rating: 9/10

an RIP read

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4 thoughts on “The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

  1. Cari says:

    I really wanted to read this – I had an ARC of it, but the formatting was so weird on my Nook that I just couldn’t get into it. I’ll try the print. It looked so cool!

  2. Laura Ansley says:

    I just finished this and would like to know what parts of the end you didn’t like? Shoot me an email or something, if you remember. 😛

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