Here Lies Daniel Tate has left me quite speechless.
I kindly ask you to bear with me as I attempt to formulate the difficult things called comprehensible words.
*clears throat awkwardly*
That was more than a little messed up.
Because, the highly intelligent and scientific question I’m asking myself right now is this: What the hell did I just read?
Okay, I know I am that one reader that usually goes looking for the freaky and the mind-twisty but still. What … what even was this.
This is one of these books that I really can’t say much for fear of spoilers but … here goes. I’ll have no spoilers in this review, and here’s hoping it’ll be comprehensible enough spoiler-free.
Let’s do this. Via a pro/con list. Bless lists and their easily navigable format.
Pros are up first! #StartPositiveToStayPositive
•The unreliable narrator aspect was pulled off fabulously. I mean, I don’t even know the kid’s name (so he shall be hereby referred to as “the MC” in this review of mine), and yet I feel compelled to trust him, only to have to be constantly reminded that he could literally be anyone and have all sorts of shady intentions. And, frustrating at this sounds, it’s also so incredibly fun. I like being a bit confused and having no choice but to tear through this book trying to crack the case.
•The writing style is easy to follow along with, without being overly simplistic. The descriptions are short and snappy, but detailed enough? I’m having a bit of a hard time explaining this, because Cristin Terrill’s style is a bit unique in this: I could picture the Tate house and the layout, for example, perfectly well, even though it was never extensively described. And this concise-but-detailed style flows so incredibly well.
•The characters, particularly the Tate family, is very well-rounded. I really like big-family books, and I love it when each member has their own quirks and flaws and preferences, and I believe this family was no different from what I wanted to see. My favorite would have to be, of course, the youngest, Mia. I looove little adorable kids capable of melting even the tough con artist’s heart. Any scenes were Mia showed up were easily my favorite.
•As a thriller, this was sufficiently thrilling. I know I’ve said this about a hundred times already this year, but if you’ve got any YA thriller recs, please yell them at me at the top of your lungs because this is THE genre that i am searching for. Why? Because thrillers are just plain FUN.
•The play on the title is genius. Pure genius. (Yes, this needs to be said). If I could rate this thing on title alone, then I’ve found my top read of 2017.
Unfortunately, we’ve got some negatives to roll out so .. buckle up.
•I found the MC’s personality (what little there was developed) to be quite unusual for a con artist. And maybe this is because I am used to toughened up kids living on the run (see: Kaz Brekker. Or Lila Bard), but the MC came off here as a bit .. sweet? A bit of a softie? And that was a little more than disconcerting (to me, at least), but I’d chalk this up to misplaced expectations. No, I’m not saying all con artists have to be knife-wielding sassy stabby people, but I wasn’t expecting the MC to teach a little kid to swim and enjoy hugging people and tear up quite so easily. Where’s the morally gray-ness? Not once did he think of robbing the Tate estate with all its apparent wealth, or flat-out killing the police sniffing around him, or eliminating anyone who doubts he’s really Danny, or anything .. malicious. Not that there’s anything wrong with that being, you know, a good person, exactly, (in fact, it is actually kind of cute), but it’s just .. weird. For a criminal. With scars. And lies. And no name.
I can live with that, though.
•Ren was the most uselessly-added character in the history of Uselessly-Added Characters™. She was just brought up to serve as a convenient love interest, but in a way that felt as if Terrill wanted to push their romance down the reader’s throat. It’s not working, okay? Please skip to the mind games again, before I fall asleep of boredom.
•I predicted a whole bunch. And guys? This is unusual for me. The fact that I like thrillers partially comes from the fact that I am not thrillingly intelligent. Meaning: Im not smart. At all. I can’t guess the mystery to save my life. (Example: everyone rolled their eyes so hard at One of Us Is Lying’s great reveal while I was just sitting there going WAIT WHAT, THAT’S CRAZY even though the whole thing was as predictable as a kids show, apparently, so yeah. Not my greatest moment, but it pays to be a bit ignorant.) But here? Either I’m becoming a bit more experienced, or HLDT’s storyline was a wee bit predictable.
So whoops. Big reveal revealed nothing.
This is, obviously, just me though.
But all in all? A nice, quick, entertaining read, if you’re looking for that sort of thing. I personally wasn’t, but when do books ever listen to what I want.
*shakes head sadly*