Book Review: The Secret History

Do you know those books where you hate every single character and spend the whole book wanting to smack them across the face? You do?! Good, because The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one of those kinds of books.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

This book is written as one of those reverse murder mysteries. The story opens with the main character, Richard, basically writing the story of how he and a group of friends in college killed their friend, Bunny Corcoran. You immediately start off knowing who was murdered and were the murderers, but not the how or why. While I liked how the story is told in reverse, I think I would have preferred not knowing who had murdered Bunny and later it be revealed that it was Richard and his friends. It would’ve added a little bit of shock value to the story, because the why is just about the stupidest reasoning ever and it could have really used some actual tension.

Oh, the characters…. I hated them all. Granted, I’m well aware that’s exactly what you’re supposed to feel towards Richard, Bunny, Henry, Francis, Charlie, and Camilla. However, I didn’t hate them because they’re pretentious little assholes and they murdered their friend. No, no, I hated them because they are STUPID pretentious little assholes that murdered their friend. Every decision they make throughout this book is about the most awful choice any person could make. It’s like if we were playing a game of Would You Rather, and the question was, “Would you rather jump off of a building without any safety net or eat an ice cream cone?” and you chose to jump off the building. Now instead of just doing the logical thing, you are purposely choosing to jump off a building because you think it means something special about you to be subversive, that by choosing the illogical, you are somehow part of a higher species than the rest of us. Ummm, no that’s not what that means at all. Nope, you, sir, are just a fucking idiot. That’s Richard and his friends – they are just a group of fucking idiots, who are of the incorrect opinion that they are the most brilliant people upon this Earth.

Now the prose was wonderful. This is the only novel of Tartt’s that I’ve ever read, but I can definitely see why she has become such a celebrated author. The words flow beautifully and every scene is so intricately described without cluttering the storyline. The writing definitely is a nod towards the literary fiction set.

However, even with the insanely idiotic characters and flowery prose, the storyline pulls you in. It’s a large book that is so fast-paced, you don’t even realize that you’ve read 100 pages in one sitting. I was afraid that this book would drag in stretches or even the entire time, but it never did. I was constantly excited to see where the story would go to next, and had so much trouble putting it down. I even chose to read it at my desk during my lunch hour, rather than go home and relax for a bit. It was almost like not being able to look away from a car wreck, even though I knew it was going to turn out awful and I disagreed with every choice the characters made.

And that’s how I know that this book was really, really good.

Read it.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Have you read The Secret History? What are your thoughts on it? Did you like the characters? Did you agree with their actions?

WWW Wednesday – December 14th, 2016

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World, #1) by P.C. Cast

Slowly making my way through this book, as I haven’t really been reading a whole bunch the past few days. I felt like I needed to take a little step back before I read myself right into a dreaded reading slump. I’m only about 100 pages into this, but I’m enjoying it so far.

Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

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I’m also still reading Jill’s debut book, Corrupt Me. I haven’t read any more of it since this weekend, as I’m waiting for my physical copy that she sent me to arrive! It’s supposed to be here tomorrow and I am soooooo thrilled! That girl is such an awesome person and one of my besties. You should all go check out her blog at Rant and Rave About Books!

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This one was enjoyable, even if all of the characters were extremely dislikable – pretty sure that was the point, too. I liked how you start off knowing who’s the murderer and who was killed, and then going back to tell the story of how and why. It was an interesting story, if completely unrealistic. Come on, no college kids are actually like that and I don’t care if it even was the 80’s! I should have a full review up tomorrow for this one.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

What do you think you’ll read next?

These are the rest of the books I plan on reading this month. I may be able to have time to squeeze a couple more in, as I will be on holiday from work for about a week and a half! I’m so excited for this break, and completely thankful that I get to work at a company with such good benefits. I was hoping for a read-a-thon being hosted during that week, but I haven’t come across one yet. Let me know if you hear about any going on around the 21st-3rd!


What books are you currently reading? What books do you have left on your December TBR? Have you read any of the ones on my list? Are you joining us this month in reading A Thousand Pieces of You, for Hype or Like Friday? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

WWW Wednesday – December 7th, 2016

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I’ll probably be able to finish up this book today (fingers crossed!), and so far it’s been very interesting. I like it so far, it’s fairly engrossing and fast paced. However, at this point I probably won’t be giving it the full 5 stars. Sometimes the prose comes across as trying too hard and pretentious, which is an instant way to annoy the heck out of me.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

I’m also currently reading my blogging bestie, Jill @ Rant and Rave About Books, new NA Romance novel, Corrupt MeIt’s going to be released in January, so you should all be on the lookout! It’s also currently available on NetGalley if you are interested in receiving an ARC for review!

What did you recently finish reading?

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Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) by Sarah J. Maas

I promise that I will catch up with my reviews over the next week. I’ve had a very interesting few days and so have just gotten pushed behind on my reviews. Sorry, y’all!

What do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading? Have you read any of the books on my list? Are you joining us this month in reading A Thousand Pieces of You? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday post in the comments below!

Teaser Tuesday – December 6th, 2016

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme currently being hosted by MizB @ Books and a Beat. All are welcome to participate!

Rules:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don’t want to give too much away so as to not ruin the book for others!
  • Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Hampden College, as a body, was always strangely prone to hysteria. Whether from isolation, malice, or simple boredom, people there were far more credulous and excitable than educated people are generally believed to be, and this hermetic, overheated atmosphere made it a thriving black petri dish of melodrama and distortion.

-page 378

This book… I just… It’s just… I don’t know. It’s strange, pretentious, highly unbelievable, and just plain weird. Yet, here I am, completely engrossed in it. If you haven’t picked this one up – I recommend you doing it at some point! Donn Tartt must be one strange lady to have thought this story up.


Have you read The Secret History? What did you think of it? What are you currently reading? Leave a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in the comments below!

Tome Topple Read-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Even though the Tome Topple Read-A-Thon doesn’t officially end until 11:59pm tonight, I thought I would go ahead and post my wrap-up for it. I know I won’t be finishing my book in time before it ends, so why not go ahead and face the inevitable – right?

If you would like to find out more about this read-a-thon, you can visit my original post HERE.


Books I Finished or Currently Reading

Unread = FAILURE

Okay, I know I did HORRIBLY with this read-a-thon. I mean, I really bit the big one this time. But, in my defense, I was a week late getting started on it due to finishing up 2 other books first. Also, I work from 9-5 every day because I’m a big girl and have to be an adult… BOOOOO! This whole adult thing really cuts into my reading time. I envy those of you still in school or don’t have to work!

Anyways, I’m hoping that there might be a holidays read-a-thon going on during the week of Christmas/New Year, because I’m taking my vacation that week and plan to do a shit ton of reading. So if you know of one – please let me know!


Did you participate in the Tome Topple Read-A-Thon? How much were you able to read? Did you make it through your entire TBR? Have you read any of the books that were on my list?

WWW Wednesday – November 30th, 2016

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) by Sarah J. Maas

I only just started this book yesterday, but after the whirlwind ride of fun that was Queen of Shadows, I’ve got high hopes for this one! And yes, I know all about the mixed reviews and no, I’m not going to let it rob me of my anticipation. Just let me have this one moment of high hopes before they get bashed into the wall, along with my head.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Y’all, this book was awesome from start to finish. Which was a really nice change, especially after the slower paced Heir of Fire. My full review should be posted in the next few days.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Even though I know that I won’t make it to either of these in time for Tome Topple, I still plan to read these two hulking books next. I’m pretty excited for both, as I’ve heard great things about The Secret History and early reviews for Moon Chosen have been good, as well!


What are you currently reading? What’s on your TBR for December? Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think of them? Leave a link to your WWW Wednesday in the comments below!

Tome Topple Read-a-thon, Fall 2016

Hi, y’all! I will be participating in this fall’s Tome Topple Read-a-thon that is being hosted by Samantha @ Thoughts on Tomes. This read-a-thon is all about finishing up those big daunting books that are currently intimidating you from your shelves!

It begins at midnight on November 18th and continues until 11:59pm on December 1st, both in your own time zone. The only requirements for this read-a-thon is that for the books to count, they must be 500+ pages. You don’t need to read 10, or even finish one. This is just a fun time to pick up those big books at the same time as other readers all over the world, and just be there to support one another. You can follow along and discuss your books with other readers by joining the Goodreads group HERE, or on Twitter by following @tome_topple and using #tometopple.

I will probably be a little late starting this read-a-thon as I plan on finishing Wolf by Wolf and Three Dark Crowns before starting.


Tome Topple TBR

Optional TBR

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Are you participating in Tome Topple? What is on your Tome Topple TBR? Have you read any of the books on mine? What are your thoughts on them? Leave a link to your TBR post in the comments!

WWW Wednesday – November 16th, 2016

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Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments and be sure to give the appropriate credit to Sam!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1) by Kendare Blake

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1) by Ryan Graudin

I’m currently about 60 pages into Three Dark Crowns. It’s been interesting so far, but there have been a whole lot of character introductions and I’m still trying to remember who is who. Hopefully that gets easier as the story moves along and we actually get to all of the action. Also, Kat is annoying. If I have to read one more mention about her being too small, I’m going to pull my hair out.

I started my first buddy read ever last night with Britt @ Geronimo Reads. We both realized that we had Wolf by Wolf for ages but hadn’t actually read it, so we decided to read it together. I didn’t get far at all into it last night but I plan to do some reading during my lunch break today. I’ve heard great things about this book so I’m looking forward to it!

What did you recently finish reading?

  • The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – review to come in the next few days
  • Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #2) by Rae Carson – Review

Both of these books were really good. I’m a tad bit obsessed with The Gold Seer Trilogy and I wish more people would give it a shot. It’s such a good series and deserves more recognition! And The Diabolic actually lived up to all of the hype! It was a really good YA science fiction standalone that was dark, exciting, and unique. I definitely recommend both of these!

What do you think you’ll read next?

  • Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World, #1) by P.C. Cast

All of these books for the Tome Topple Readathon that starts on the 18th. There will be an official post tomorrow about this readathon for those of you who are interested!


Have you read any of the books on my list? What are your thoughts on them? Which ones should I be excited about? What are you currently reading? Leave a link to your WWW post in the comments below!