Sunday, January 14, 2018

[Book Review] Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Book Review of Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Oh my... Bonfire by Krysten Ritter was not a book for me.

I don't enjoy pushing through books that I'm not enjoying, but for some reason I pushed through here. I knew right away that the writing style was going to drive me crazy, and it only got worse.

Prepare yourselves, this review is quite negative...

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

My thoughts:
The only three things I liked about this book were the dust jacket design, the synopsis, and a couple of passages.

Beware, the negatives:
I picked this one up solely because I thought the synopsis sounded incredible. After finishing the book, I still think the synopsis sounds great, but the book certainly didn't live up to it.

Going into the book, I had no idea who Krysten Ritter was. It was only when I saw the author blurb when I finished the book that I made the connection that she was an actress that I knew from the Jessica Jones series.

The first note I wrote down while reading was:
Oh my… this writing style does not work for me. It’s so jumpy! I’m on page 9 and I’ve already had to re-read multiple paragraphs because I reached the end and realized I had no idea what I had just read. 

I should have bailed there.

How often things are recapped throughout the book was incredibly annoying. Equally annoying was how often the author was so sure of herself just to be proved wrong immediately;  “As soon as I think it, I know it must be true.” This was also the case as soon as she spoke things out loud... and my goodness, how many times do we have to mention the fact that Brent kissed her?!

Overall, this book felt extremely repetitive. I didn’t mark down specifics, but I found myself thinking “Haven’t I read that same phrase already?” too many times to count.

The author also uses a lot of short sentences like: “I turn off the ignition. Sit in silence.” Contrasting that, there are run on sentences that could have been broken up, and many sentences that scream for better punctuation.

All of the description got a bit tiresome. It seemed that most descriptions had a “like a” and then random details that didn't really make sense. For example:
  • Flora waves her arms overhead like an aircraft marshal trying to get me to wheel-in-right.
  • The east side is where the skeleton of Optimal gradually rose up, like a shipwreck in reverse.
  • Condor’s living room is like a weather-beaten dock, and I am washed-up wreckage.
And last, we have the dreaded use of "holding a breath without realizing it"... Once in a book is irritating enough. But three times?
  • Page 16: I let out of breath I didn’t know I was holding…
  • Page 29: I exhale before realizing I had been holding my breath.
  • Page 103: ... only after I’m standing on the porch, gulping air, do I realize I was holding my breath.
In my opinion, this book easily could have been edited down to half the length just by removing the unnecessary recaps and repetition. But even then, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed reading it.

My favorite passages:
The sky is in that in-between phase, day and night throwing up a confused riot of blues and pinks and oranges to a soundtrack of crickets.

Memories are like fire, and need only a little oxygen to grow.

My final thoughts:
So here we have it. It's very rare that I give a book a one-star rating, which means that this is a book that I wish I hadn't finished and would absolutely not recommend...

Thanks for reading!
Again, apologies for being so negative, but I have to be honest!

What book did you push through to the end only to wish that you had bailed? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!


  1. So sorry you had to do a bad review! Those suck!

    I recently read The 11.05 Murders by Brian O Hare and oh Jesus let me tell you... TERRIBLE. Only reason I pushed through was because I got it through They ask you to identify typos in the book so, I kinda HAD to read it. ://

    1. They sure do!! Oye! Sorry you had to push through that one... I hope your read after that was a five star! :)

  2. oh gosh im sorry you didnt like it, ive not started my copy yet. i really should...

    1. I hope you have much better luck than I did! :) I can't wait to see what you think.

  3. Oh, no, yikes! I was contemplating reading this because I like Ritter as an actress, but I've seen too many poor reviews now! Repetition is one of my pet peeves!

    1. Ah darn! If you do happen to give it a shot, I'd love to see what you think!

  4. I was tempted when BOTM included this as a pick one month, but didn't pull the trigger. Something about it just didn't click for me. All the positive hype had me doubting myself, but your review makes me feel better about passing on it. A lot of the things that annoyed you would make me put down a book too, especially the repetition!

  5. Great review, just sorry you didn't enjoy it so much. I've not read this. "she was an actress that I knew from the Jessica Jones series. Ooh I didn't know that either. "

    Yes, the released a breath I didn't realise I was holding in, does get a bit old.

    1. haha it certainly does, especially when used three times in the same book...

  6. I had this on my wishlist thanks to you, I've pushed it further down. I think that writing style would drive me nuts as well. Sorry you spent time in this one.

    1. Yeah... I'm still really bummed! The synopsis sounded SO good! I'd love to see what you think if you give it a go!

  7. After reading those really strange similies, I know that this book isn't for me! A reverse shipwreck? No, thanks! Plus, the whole holding your breath thing really doesn't make sense for me. The only time I've done that is when I've been doing ab work, haha!

    1. Haha! Right?! Oye... I'm so over that phrase!

  8. I want to read this book so bad. It was wonderful to hear your thoughts so that I can be prepared and not set the bar so high if and when I purchase this book.

  9. Sorry you didn't care for this one. It sounds great and the cover is very pretty. Honestly though I may skip it because I hate repetitiveness in books. If that was an issue for you, it would probably be the same for me as well. If I ever get super curious anyway, there's always the library! Excellent review. :)

    1. Yeah, repetitiveness is a major issue for me! I'd definitely recommend snagging it from the library if you want to give it a go , I wish I had rather than purchasing it! :)

  10. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one! It was on my TBR, mostly because of the synopsis, the cover and the fact that I like Krysten Ritter as an actress, but this writing style doesn't seem for me either. Great review though!

    1. I hope you enjoyed it more than I did if you pick it up! :)

  11. Ah, every now and again there are books which just don't work for us at all... so sorry that this one didn't get better :( Hope your next read is more enjoyable!