PLOT: 4.5/5 CHARACTERS: 4/5 WRITING: 4/5 CLIMAX: 3.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 4/5 Genre: Psychological Thriller Themes: Stranded on an Island, Middle of Nowhere, Dark Secrets, Twisted Characters
“A sort of madness sets in when one is away from society for too long, when one looks out to the horizon and sees only sea and sky.”– Rachel Hawkins, Reckless Girls
Having previously read The Wife Upstairs by the same author, and in the mood for some dark & twisted tale, I picked up Rachel Hawkin’s Reckless Girls. And I wasn’t disappointed, for this book turned out to be quite an engrossing tale.
What to expect?
Expect contemporary adult fiction that has an abundance of mystery, thrill, and suspense. Expect a psychological thriller that takes you to a remote island in the South Pacific whose history is full of murder, shipwrecks, and even cannibalism.
Who can read?
The language of the book is such that it can be easily picked up by beginner-level readers.
The story as it goes
Lux Allister left her home after a family tragedy that deeply affected her, and is currently living in Hawaii, stuck in a job that doesn’t excite her anymore.
So, when an opportunity of a lifetime comes her way – which promises both thrill, adventure, and a good amount of money – Lux cannot say no.
Two best friends Brittany and Amma are keen on sailing to a remote Pacific Island, a place where no one dares venture (because of its sordid history and also because it is in the middle of nowhere, almost cut off from civilization), and they are willing to pay a good buck for it.
So, both Lux and her boyfriend Nico, who happens to own a boat, readily agree to this adventure.
But when after days of tiresome sailing, they finally reach the place, they discover that their paradise is already occupied by another boat owned by a gorgeous rich it-couple, Jake and Eliza.
The six get together like a house on fire and are having the time of their life when a mysterious stranger also arrives to ruin their party.
The rhythm and dynamics of the place are soon gone and there emerges a quite disenchantment.
When their carefully crafted demeanours are challenged, secrets tumble out of the closets and it seems almost everyone there is a liar. Liars with deep mysterious secrets.
But all hell breaks loose when they get cut off from civilization, and a murder and a disappearance later, everyone is on the brink of losing their sanity.
So, what’s wrong with the island?
Who gets killed and who disappears?
Does the island’s dark past has got something to do with these strange occurrences?
“I swear to god, it’s this place. Being on the edge of civilization, away from everything and everyone. I think it makes people insane.”
The idea of the book, the setting, the atmospheric vibe, and the carefully chosen cast of characters – seems really good.
In my opinion, Reckless Girls got off to a great start, there was this sense of anticipation, this feeling of impending doom, but even before that it was the characters that held your attention. Interesting in their own way, but not so overwhelming as to overpower the narrative.
Were they confused? Yes
Did they do things randomly and without much thought? Yes
Were they shallow and mean? Yes
All of it, yes. But still, there was something in their decadent behaviour that kept me going, turning pages after pages.
The climax is a different story though, it takes you on a definite roller coaster of a ride. For a large part, particularly all through the middle of the story, nothing much happens.
I mean, sure there are the large egos and larger secrets paving their way for an ending, but not much happens plot-wise till right before the end, which is when all of a sudden… boom!
The climax starts unraveling and this makes the last few chapters take the reader on a spiraling drive.
And the less said about the setting, the better. It is just fantastic. The vibe, the thrill, and the idea of being stranded on an island with no contact with civilization are as thrilling as it gets, and such a setting and location always work like a charm.
I love how the island’s mysterious history was incorporated into the narrative, with legends surrounding its rather unknown history and long-gone sailors’ accounts concerning the things going on there.
My only hope was that it played a much more active role in the current scheme of events.
The ending, though not much to my liking, provides a decent conclusion to the story of these characters and that was okay with me. Though, the hype that the blurb and the mysterious Meroe Island creates doesn’t live up to its full potential.
In the end, Reckless Girls is a book that promises a ride full of interesting characters, a few reckless souls, an adventure to the middle of nowhere, and a mysterious island known for its dark and suspicious history.
Read it if you enjoy psychological thrillers set in dangerous locations.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Reckless Girls using the link below.