The List by Carys Jones (2021) Review

What would you do if you found a list with your name on it?

Why I picked up the book:

Beth Belmont is on her daily run when she finds something different in a route she knows as the palm of her hand: the corner of a paper at the base of a tree. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she picks it up.

On that paper, there are five names, including her own. As the day follows, Beth can’t stop thinking about the names on the list and decides to look further into it. When she finds out the two words above hers belong to dead people, she wonders if she could be next. I mean, wouldn’t you?

The book through my criteria lens:

 I first read The List as an audiobook produced by Dreamscape Media and narrated by Charlotte Worthing. And I really enjoyed it. Worthing’s voice was enticing, and her pacing was spot on. Although I felt that she did excellent with projecting the characters’ voices, I wish there was a second narrator for the “mystery” POV. I realize this wasn’t on Charlotte’s talent but the book’s writing, making it hard for readers to get used to that narrative until almost the end of the book.

On that note, I will start the book review with my one gripe – We have three narrators, Beth in the present, Ruby in the past, and a mystery narrator we know is the list author, but don’t know their identity or gender. I have no problem following stories with “mystery narrators.” Still, in The List this narrative came right in the middle of other chapters without warning, making it difficult for me to follow or enjoy at first. It often broke the tension of either Beth’s or Ruby’s Story. I would have rated the book higher if somehow that PoV had its own chapters. It would have made the narrator’s storytelling more fluid as well. 

On the other hand, Jones did a fantastic job taking us on the emotional journey of characters and their thought process. It made it easy to understand their feelings and motivations off the bat and see the events through their eyes. One of my favourite things about reading is connecting with characters, and I did just that in The List. Beth is such a compelling, multidimensional character. Her whole journey was the perfect frame for this story.

My personal feelings:

Even with the awkward placement of the “mystery narrator,” I really enjoyed all the alternating PoVs. It reminded me of The ABC Murders in style (but utterly different in everything else, so I promise this isn’t a spoiler.)

I still catch myself thinking about Ruby and Beth, which is a great sign the author wrote a book worth reading. I will be checking her other books out and hope her characters are just as enjoyable!

Enjoyability     8

Characters       10

Ambience        8

Fairness          8

Plot                  10

Execution        8

My total rating: 4.33

I mention this book in this video: TBD

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Dreamscape Media, Carys Jones, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The List.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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