2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: The Whisperer by A. Ireland King

This book is available as a single unit but is divided into six sections, which are also available individually. I reviewed them section-by-section for the author, hence the section reviews rather than one comprehensive one. And as of the date of today’s post, the full book is available FOR FREE on Amazon, as well as offered in Kindle Unlimited, so grab your copy quickly!

I really enjoy seeing what other people think about what happens after we die, and The Whisperer offers an interesting take on the concept. I really enjoyed this story’s beginning – while not exactly new in its underlying concept, the slant that Ms. King takes is clever and feels fresh in its execution. I also really like that the story is populated by original and non-traditional characters. In this world, everyone isn’t brilliant and gorgeous and perfect with a tragic flaw that really turns out to be their greatest strength. These feel like real people (even the one that isn’t a person anymore), and that makes them eminently relatable and very engaging as characters. The writing is strong and clear and I like that the story is divided up by clearly labeled narrators/points of view – too often lately authors seem to enjoy hiding the eight ball from their readers, forcing us to work to follow the plot and figure out who is telling us what. While that sometimes works, it also sometimes just obfuscates the underlying story – and often unnecessarily, as though the key to a great story was cleverness rather than an actually great story… Not so here – King does a creditable job keeping everyone and everything straight for her readers, so that the story can tell itself. I look forward to the next installment!

The saga of poor Meredith and her afterlife (afterdeath?) continues in a rather steadily depressing fashion – this poor woman seems just as beleaguered in death as she was in life. It makes the story occasionally wearying – I just want something good to happen to her! – but not in a bad way, in a way that is indicative of the quality of the writing because it means that the emotion King is generating is so authentic feeling that it is literally carrying me along with it. The other characters seem to be making more pointed appearances, and I suspect they will eventually tie together more obviously (beyond their status as people Meredith “whispers” to) and their import will become more transparent as their stories play out. The book continues to be an interesting look at life and death, and how the decisions we make – that seem isolated in the moment – carryover and touch more lives than we suspect…

AHA – it’s starting to come together a bit more… I don’t know if I’ve been slow to grasp the inter-connections or if they’ve been deliberately teased out, but I’m finally starting to see more overlap and some hint as to the interrelationships between the various characters and Meredith (beyond the obvious Whisperer role). I’m reading this while reading a few others (I read/review a lot), so it’s possible that I’ve been slower to grasp some of this, but I’m starting to feel like there’s a more coherent picture (as I suspected) emerging. I’m half-way into the story now, and things are starting to converge a little more obviously. It’s never felt incoherent – don’t misunderstand. Each of the segments I’ve read so far has steadily been building toward something (that much has always been clear) – but what that something is has not always been so. I can feel that pressure building more strongly and obviously in this third section, and it’s helped me move through some of the wearying effects of the sadness that so often overwhelms so many of the characters. King is a very evocative writer. Her writing style is engaging and easy, even when what she’s describing is not. It makes the sadness and depression and regret and fear of her characters jump off the page and land in your lap. The result is an oddly wearying, although still quite enjoyable (weird, I know) read…

I’m continuing to enjoy the story – this segment, falling in the middle as it did, was a lot of glue-work. Necessary for the story, but not the most interesting bits as far as a free-standing component of the whole tale, to my taste. I’m optimistic that the back and forth will soon start to overlap a lot more, but found myself flipping back-and-forth in the pages a bit to keep everything (and everyone) straight, as far as plot development here… Still enjoyable, and I can tell it serves a purpose, so don’t be deterred by the three stars as opposed to the four earlier on.

Ooh, we’re getting there – the Big Reveal… The previous section felt a little slow to me, and I was wavering a tiny bit in attention. With this section, I was pulled back into Merry’s world fully, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the characters approach their various resolutions. I have a feeling I’m going to really like the ending…

How lovely the way it all tied together! I was surprised and moved and the ending was quite lovely… There was just enough personal growth for the story to feel like it came full circle, yet nothing felt too tidy or stretched out. King pulled all the loose, wobbly bits together into a genuine, sweet, and touching wrap-up that felt like it struck just the right balance between sentimental and believable. This was an original take on what comes after death, and it offered a lot of food for thought interspersed with a well-casted and well-plotted entertaining narrative. A win on both fronts, I think.


My initial review copy was provided by the author; the individual sections and entire novel are available via Kindle Unlimited and I have downloaded and reviewed from those free copies as well.

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