2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 1 book toward her goal of 285 books.

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Book Review: The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni

About the Book

All the world is a puzzle, and Mike Brink—a celebrated and ingenious puzzle constructor—understands its patterns like no one else. Once a promising Midwestern football star, Brink was transformed by a traumatic brain injury that caused a rare medical condition: acquired savant syndrome. The injury left him with a mental superpower—he can solve puzzles in ways ordinary people can’t. But it also left him deeply isolated, unable to fully connect with other people.

Everything changes after Brink meets Jess Price, a woman serving thirty years in prison for murder who hasn’t spoken a word since her arrest five years before. When Price draws a perplexing puzzle, her psychiatrist believes it will explain her crime and calls Brink to solve it. What begins as a desire to crack an alluring cipher quickly morphs into an obsession with Price herself. She soon reveals that there is something more urgent, and more dangerous, behind her silence, thrusting Brink into a hunt for the truth.

The quest takes Brink through a series of interlocking enigmas, but the heart of the mystery is the God Puzzle, a cryptic ancient prayer circle created by the thirteenth-century Jewish mystic Abraham Abulafia. As Brink navigates a maze of clues, and his emotional entanglement with Price becomes more intense, he realizes that there are powerful forces at work that he cannot escape.

Ranging from an upstate New York women’s prison to nineteenth-century Prague to the secret rooms of the Pierpont Morgan Library, The Puzzle Master is a tantalizing, addictive thriller in which humankind, technology, and the future of the universe itself are at stake.

My Review

This one started so strong – it was full of intrigue, puzzles, and dark secrets that seemed to hold so much promise… Unfortunately for me, as the story developed I felt like I was reading two books: one, a dark and twisty thriller (the first half of the book), and the other a piece of literary fiction about religion and man’s role in the universe. I enjoyed both, but they didn’t mesh together seamlessly and I found myself wanting more of each component rather than feeling like the two pieces ever really unified into one wholly satisfying book. It made the read uneven in pacing and narrative in a way I found distracting and disappointing.

There is very strong start and a very strong finish (with a fabulous and fascinating concept of the nature of God thrown in), but some of the road between the two failed to hold my interest the way I wanted it to… It was still an interesting story, and one I enjoyed, though. But that’s what made it 3 stars for me instead of the 4 or even 5 I anticipated giving it early on.

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