Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: The Truants by Kate Weinberg

The Truants
The Truants by Kate Weinberg
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Hardcover. 320 pages

About The Truants:

"People disappear when they most want to be seen.

Jess Walker has come to a concrete campus under the flat grey skies of East Anglia for one reason: To be taught by the mesmerizing and rebellious Dr Lorna Clay, whose seminars soon transform Jess's thinking on life, love, and Agatha Christie. Swept up in Lorna's thrall, Jess falls in with a tightly-knit group of rule-breakers--Alec, a courageous South African journalist with a nihilistic streak; Georgie, a seductive, pill-popping aristocrat; and Nick, a handsome geologist with layers of his own. 

But when tragedy strikes the group, Jess turns to Lorna. Together, the two seek refuge on a remote Italian island, where Jess tastes the life she's long dreamed of--and uncovers a shocking secret that will challenge everything she's learned."

This book was honestly a huge disappointment for me. I read this book back in August, which is when I wrote down the majority of this review so as not to forget anything by the time I post it, but it remains fairly unmemorable to me and I can't say that I have extraordinarily strong feelings for it one way or another.

The Truants follows Jess, a rather uninteresting woman who also happens to be obsessed with her future professor, Dr. Lorna Clay, a scholar whose my recent book about Agatha Christie has contributed to her class being one of the most sought after at her university. Jess is one of those characters who I never really cared about or found myself attached to in any way. Her personality was inconsistent throughout and I struggled to really understand who she was. She meets three other enigmatic people and the four quickly form a tight, tenuous friendship, which forms the basis for many of the events that occur throughout the story. This book is very much about the characters and their secrets and relationships with one another, much of which tends to eventually overlap with that of Dr. Clay's.

One of my biggest issues with The Truants was its insistence on trying to create a 'dark academia' sort of vibe, an effort with seemed to fail in execution and instead left this book feeling empty and lacking in major plot and substance There were a few moments where Weinberg's prose was elevated in ways that made me enjoy her writing, for the majority of the book it felt rather flat and uninteresting.

Because of how lackluster this book was, the many "shocking" secrets that came out weren't really that shocking and I didn't really care when they did happen. The first half of the book takes place mostly at the university, whereas the second half takes some new directions and introduces more involvements with Dr. Clay that I didn't particularly enjoy and that I felt were a bit too predictable. I don't mind a little bit of predictability in books, but this just felt like such a tired and cliche'd storyline--the main difference was the second main setting and the mystery attached--and I found myself trying to speed through this book a lot to finish it.

Despite how I've made it sound, this isn't a bad book and I can understand how plenty of people could enjoy the dark-ish academia vibes and the influence and incorporation of Agatha Christie's role and mysteries, but I just didn't enjoy it. It seemed to try too hard to fit into the mold dark academia mixed with enigmatic professor and unhealthy friendships. Overall, it's a 2.5 stars from me!

*I received an ARC of The Truants courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

1 comment:

  1. Now I'm sort of glad my NetGalley request was declined! I had high hopes for this as well, too bad.