The first on the list was The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins- given five stars and reduced by several pounds, so I thought, why not?
As I flipped through the first pages, the first thing that struck me was the diary format- very much similar to Gone Girl. Not just, of course, that it is written in the style of a diary, but the mannerisms of Rachel were reminiscent of some of Amy's early diary entries- making me paranoid for a moment that I would be fooled.
Rachel is a character with a lot of depth- we are introduced to the concept of her alcoholism almost immediately, and as the book explores more of her life, her joblessness, her lack of relationships, both friendships and in love, we ultimately feel pity for her. She regards herself lowly- her narrative generally attached with a sense of self-loathing on her behalf. Exposed to every aspect of her life, we are shown the dire, repetitive nature of her daily activities which consist of her clinging to the life she had years ago, going as far as to travel by train to London every day to mimic her old journey to the work place she has long since been fired from.
I wouldn't describe her as particularly likeable, but Rachel certainly is worthy of sympathy.
I couldn't help but perceive Megan's character as Amy from Gone Girl. Their narratives contain the same voice, the same selfishness and egotistical nature, almost devoid of conciseness. She is certainly interesting, although at some points, it can be difficult to understand the nature behind her actions.
Anna, the third narrator is difficult to warm to- her hostile nature towards both Megan and Rachel seeming overly paranoid in parts yet justifiable in others. I found inconsistencies in her personality- there were several interactions in the novel between her and Rachel which I found hard to believe would have happened if she truly feared her as much as she insinuated she did earlier in the story line, taking the edge off the otherwise gritty realism.
The split narrative works exceptionally well- I would even go to say that the different segments compliment each other more than that of Gone Girl. Each entry draws suspicions about the other, all characters become relatable to the reader in their own way, leaving a sense of confusion and a million red herrings and clues which are built on only to become a mix of further red herrings and clues which themselves turn out to be false- all the while dealing with Rachel's spells of memory blanks and the predicaments of Megan and Anna.
I will not spoil the ending, but to me the revelation of truth felt slightly rushed and random, as if the rest of the novel had been building to something more than what was delivered.
For me, that would be the only flaw of the book, because, other than that, I truly enjoyed this novel.