Thursday, February 26, 2015

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Halfway through this book, I realised that it really, really reminded me of the film The Snow White Murder Case (click the link to read my review, on another blog). Both the book and the film are about a murder (although the murder in the book is much, much, much more gruesome than the movie), but they take a look at modern technology, and how they affect the murder investigation. The main difference, is that one of the main characters of Broken Monsters would be the cop.

Broken Monsters features a whole cast of characters, from the lead detective, to her daughter, to the murderer and the journalist. They each take a turn narrating the story, and their lives eventually tie into the larger narrative - that someone is murdering people and mutilating the bodies. For some POVs, like the daughters and a random character, the connection wasn't immediately obvious. At the end, however, all of them will tie together. Not all the characters will be likeable, and it's possible the character you root for is the one I despise, but that's the great thing about this book.

To me, the book explores the question "Is murder/insanity catching, and can it spread through social media?" This question surfaces in the second half of the book, so I can't talk about it without giving away major spoilers, but it definitely gave me food for thought.

The only downside that I see is that print isn't the best medium to convey social media. Text messages come across fine, but the reddit threads were a bit confusing, especially without the lines to show nesting comments properly (there are indentations, but it's not very clear to me). It may be that the movie spoiled this for me, because the way they showed twitter was very easy to understand, and really added to the film. For the book, the social media sections (calls, reddit pages) were mostly on their own, the exception being text messages, which I think defeats the purpose of most of these sites, which is to connect people.

Overall, this is a fantastic book. It's very dark, so I would only recommend it to mature readers. But, it does raise a host of interesting questions, and the present tense narrative really adds a sense of immediacy, which kept me turning the pages, because I wanted to find out how everything would turn out.


  1. Hmmm, now I'm debating: read the book or watch the movie?

  2. Hmmm, now I'm debating: read the book or watch the movie?

    1. Do both? I'd love to hear your opinions on either! ^^


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