Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: One Hundred Names

Journalist Kitty Logan’s career has been destroyed by scandal, and she now faces losing the woman who guided her and taught her everything she knew. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her – what is the one story she always wanted to write?
The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, no explanation, nothing else to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery.

But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late.

With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life – to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty has to not only track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she uncovers Constance’s – and starts to understand her own… (Synopsis courtesy of Cecelia Ahern's website.)

Melissa Amster:

As soon as I heard about a new Cecelia Ahern book becoming available, I immediately went on a quest to find it. Thankfully, a friend sent me her copy and I couldn't wait to dig in. After a few surreal stories from Cecelia, One Hundred Names was a refreshing break. It's a more simplistic story in the grand scheme of things, but it flowed along nicely and kept my interest throughout. While it started off a bit slow, it picked up steam in no time, drawing me right into Kitty's world to find the answers she was seeking.

I didn't really know what to expect from this novel and was prepared for it to go in any direction, allowing it to surprise me in many ways. Kitty had some unlikable moments in the beginning, but then I came to realize that she had a good heart and was generally misunderstood.  I enjoyed seeing her find her way back to where she needed to be. I really liked the stories she uncovered and found it interesting to get to know these other characters through glimpses into their lives. At first I thought it would detract from the story, but it actually added more substance.

Overall, One Hundred Names is a sweet story that inspired me to do a project for my personal blog. It's called "52 Stories" and it's been going on for over half a year already. If you're interested in participating, you  know where to find me...

Becky Gulc:

By my own admission I’ve always considered Cecelia Ahern’s books to be growers rather than immediately captivating. Over the years I’ve read pretty much all of her books, my sister is a big fan so I’ve ended up borrowing them after she’s raved about them. For each one (perhaps with the exception of P.S. I Love You, which I instantly loved) I’ve found the ‘magical’ aspect a bit hard-going, difficult to get into at first but each time I’ve ended up loving it by the time I’ve finished and it’s this magical feel that makes Cecelia Ahern’s work unique. I particularly loved The Gift and A Place Called Here. So when I was sent One Hundred Names for review (with its sublime packaging) I was delighted.

Based on the synopsis, I was confident this book would offer the same magical feel of Cecelia’s previous work. The expectation of the ‘mystery’ being unravelled maintained my interest throughout the bulk of the book, this was despite me not really ‘bonding’ with the central character of Kitty that much for the first half of the book at least. She’s not that likable, and as you’re pretty much in her world, this was a shame.

I did enjoy the back stories of the people Kitty meets and the adventures she gets up to in hunting down these mysterious people and, as these evolved, Kitty did become more likeable as she started to show her caring side. The problem I had was that the book just never (for me) delivered on its promise, it was building up to something that for me never occurred and I felt let down by how the ‘mystery’ was tied up. We only actually got to know a handful of the ‘one hundred’ people too; I was sure there would be some clever way of them all being brought in more than actually occurred. If it wasn’t a Cecelia book maybe I wouldn’t have had such high expectations about a fairy tale type ending and maybe I would have been satisfied with it as it was, but as a Cecelia book? I’m afraid if I’m honest I was a little disappointed and found it a bit long-slog for little reward and felt it lacked the charm and escapism of some of her other books. There were signs of this with some of the characters she meets but this didn’t go far enough for me. Everyone’s tastes are different though so I know I may be in a minority here with this viewpoint. Although this wasn’t my favourite I still wouldn’t hesitate to pick up Cecelia’s next novel.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Cecelia Ahern:

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Awesome review ladies! I loved her book, The Book of Tomorrow, so am sure I'd like this one as well. She has a great writing style!