Book Review #6: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K.Rowling)

Monday, 29 December 2014
Product details:
Publisher: Sphere
Format: Hardback
Length: 456 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆
Source: Purchased
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.
And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before …

So first up, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, the infamous J.K.Rowling’s second crime novel in the Cormoran Strike series. So what did I think of it? Well, similarly to the first book in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, I really enjoyed it. Here are some of my thoughts on it:

  • The novel picks up not long after the conclusion of the first book, probably a few months to a year? Not bad in terms of novelisation timelines. I thought that due to this the novel had a great flow from the get go, and even though the time space is quite large, J.K didn’t limit us to knowing only the bare minimum. She informed us from the beginning of how Comoran was dealing with his newly found ‘fame’ as the infamous detective who solved the Lula Landry case. I found that all of the ideas and character development plots that were discussed this early on really shaped how Comoran’s character developed throughout this novel alone. It showed how that with his ‘fame’ comes a lot of troubles, and with everyone knowing who he was it was difficult to go about the case in his own ways as he normally did. 
  • The characters. I’ve already discussed how I felt Comoran’s character went through a lot of development in this book, but obviously he is not the only character in this book. Robin I felt was extremely in-depth and we got to find out a lot more about her situations and her feelings as things in her life outside of the detective business came into play. One thing I admire immensely about J.K’s writing, and always have, is her ability to make these characters so relatable and putting them in everyday situations no matter the situation. I think this was extremely prominent in her novel The Casual Vacancy -being a purely character driven novel and without huge amounts of plot points it really showed us as readers exactly what she is capable of besides of writing of the young boy wizard. Anyway back to The Silkworm. I though that some of the other characters that we meet as the investigation goes on were really well written, and there were definitely times where unlike the first novel I was trying to work out who exactly the murderer was. Honestly, I felt like I was playing a massive game of Cluedo, which I suppose is realistically J.K’s intentions. After every piece of evidence I was always going back and forth between one or two characters on being the prime suspect. I even started doubting the victim’s widow at one point even though through Comoran’s perspective I really didn’t want too. However whilst I mention all of the positives of these characters it’s only fair to my review if I mention some of the downfalls I feel this book had. There were at times because there were so many characters that I would often tend to merge this in my mind and forget who in particular Comoran or Robin were speaking about. Although I love that J.K can individualise a character by their traits I feel that there were a few characters, and for the life of me I cannot at this time remember who, that felt a little all to similar not in their appearance but in their motives and I often got people confused through this. I also missed quite a lot of the humour that I felt was a lot more present in The Cuckoo’s Calling. I mentioned in my review of that book that there were often times that I found myself literally chuckling away at some of the dialogue that was happening between Comoran and Robin. I understand that as the novels progress and situations with both of the characters change that there will be less of a light on the plot, but I felt that those little inserts of humour really added to the story for me and never once did it detach me from the seriousness of the topics discussed.
  • So the plot? This part I don’t think I’m going to write an awful lot about because my notes are slightly vague in this respect. I wrote that the plot was strong and that it kept me drawn in the entire time and that I enjoyed all of the new elements that were brought in as the mystery developed. Reflecting on it now I feel that yes that is partially true but I have to be true to myself in saying that because of the fact I read this novel in parts across weeks, my overall enthusiasm of the book was lost slightly. I admit that my reading pattern for this book is entirely to blame but I felt that because I was either forgetting crucial bits of information that I had just read about in my last sitting, that I was finding times in this novel when I wished certain bits would be over and that the killer was identified so I could put it down. I think honestly that the size of the book also pushed this idea on me. Because every time I returned to the book I seemed less and less enthusiastic, I just felt that it seemed to drag. However don’t take my word as law. Looking back on this I can definitely identify, as I already have, some very strong plot points and praise for this book. I think that if I hadn’t read it in such a spaced out timeframe that I would have enjoyed this book a whole lot more than I did. I think that the novel is also very complicated and has a lot of information that unfortunately you do need to pay attention to and remember because unfortunately as I did I feel that this can easily be lost.

Overall though I did really enjoy this book and it was a pretty decent sequel on to that of The Cuckoo’s Calling. Will I be continuing on with this series? Of course. Will I be doing it just because it’s J.K Rowling? No. Although I seem to have tiny problems with this book I will not just read it because it’s from my favourite author. I admit that is why I picked up the first book but The Silkworm has definitely proved to me that the book can stand up on it’s own, without the reputation of the author. So Robert Galbraith, I applaud you sir. I award this novel the classification of 3 stars!

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