Customer Reviews


145 Reviews
5 star:
 (46)
4 star:
 (26)
3 star:
 (26)
2 star:
 (20)
1 star:
 (27)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4.0 out of 5 stars Something a bit different from a wonderful author
I'm a huge fan of Sophie Hannah, have read all her books and would recommend them to anyone. She can be relied upon to deliver complex psychological thrillers with interesting characters and unpredictable plot twists. Unfortunately, Kind of Cruel doesn't quite deliver to the level I've come to expect, but it's an interesting and unusual read nonetheless.

As is...
Published 17 months ago by StephanieIsReading

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unthrilling thriller
This is the first Sophie Hannah book I've read, and it will probably be the last.

I was initially intrigued by the blurb on the back cover, which sets out the basic premise of the story (heroine is arrested for crime she knows nothing about) along with some oddball teasers (four family members vanish for 24 hours; suppressed memories return through...
Published on 9 Sept. 2012 by Jemma S


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unthrilling thriller, 9 Sept. 2012
This is the first Sophie Hannah book I've read, and it will probably be the last.

I was initially intrigued by the blurb on the back cover, which sets out the basic premise of the story (heroine is arrested for crime she knows nothing about) along with some oddball teasers (four family members vanish for 24 hours; suppressed memories return through hypnosis).

The story itself starts off a bit like a Sophie Kinsella novel, especially the funny episode where the hypnotist asks Amber, the heroine, to mentally descend an imaginary staircase into a trance, and Amber gets hung up on what the staircase should look like.

After that, Hannah rapidly assembles many of the standard ingredients of a murder mystery thriller - the various police officers, the family with secrets, the heroine trying to prove her innocence, the inexplicable turns of events, the gradual revealing of key facts.

But this isn't a normal murder mystery. For one thing, the murderer is unmasked with about 100 pages still to go, and from then on, it's all about the motivation for murder - not so much a whodunnit as a whydunnit.

All of the above could still result in a satisfying thriller. But Hannah doesn't seem interested in thrilling her readers; she's quite happy to introduce many relevant but baffling events to get the reader's brain working overtime, but there's very little in the way of menace or tension; what she really seems to want to do is write an essay about certain kinds of mental illness. A brave thing to do perhaps, but also rather dishonest. If I'd had any idea it was that sort of book, I wouldn't have bought it in the first place.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe only me, 3 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't want to seem negative when all the other reviewers are absolutely raving about the stunning literary masterpiece, but however much I enjoy Sophie Hannah's novels, this one just doesn't do it for me. There are too many characters, too many names and issues that I keep getting mixed up. I don't really care about what happens to them. Can't get my head around the story itself and the parallel stories attached to it. Sorry. I'm plowing through it and it's not bad on the whole as reading goes, but doesn't have me captivated like other of Sophie Hannah's books before. I can take it or leave it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her other novels, 6 Mar. 2012
I was disappointed by "Kind of Cruel". It lacked the substance/suspense of Sophie Hannah's other novels, in that it wasn't too hard to guess "who dunnit" and the long explanation by Waterhouse in the final chapter as to the perp's motives smacked of the author trying to build credibility around a motive that really wasn't that credible.

However, the real problem with this novel is the relationships between the police officers, which are narrated at length but add little/nothing to the plot development. There is far too much focus on a rather boring power struggle between Proust and Waterhouse which ends with absolutely no consequences for any party, and the relationship between Olivia and Gibbs also adds very little. Waterhouse is getting odder by the chapter and harder to like on any level. Is he going to be the murderer in the next one?

Overall, the impression was of a rather thin plot, padded out by unengaging sub plots and somewhat unlikeable characters.

Disappointing, especially against the quality of her other novels. Hope she re-finds her form for the next one
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, unenjoyable, I don't recommend this book, 13 Mar. 2012
Having bought this book on the strength of its Amazon reviews, I was amazed that I disliked it so much. To me, none of the characters seemed believable - just two dimensional pawns for the author to force her storyline ahead. As others have noted, the plot splits into two main streams - the story surrounding Amber, and the police officers' murder investigation. I never warmed to Amber, but this plot stream wasn't dreadful. The police part, however, seemed to me to add nothing to the book whatsoever. In general, I found the characters in 'Kind of Cruel' irritating, the plot far-fetched and poorly executed, and the style over-ambitious. I was willing the book to end and will not be buying another Sophie Hannah in a rush.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish!!, 22 Aug. 2012
By 
T. Davies "Ted" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have never read a Sophie Hannah book before but, as I'm on holiday, I thought I'd buy it and give her a try. What a mistake. Complete and utter rubbish! I read the whole book convinced that there would be a twist in the tale - there wasn't. What pretentious twaddle with no meaning and unlikeable characters this is. Don't waste your hard earned cash.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Straining credulity to the limit, 30 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I thought Sophie Hannah's plots couldn't get any more preposterous after the simply ridiculous narrative of Lasting Damage (which I still rather enjoyed until its laughable denouement).

I was wrong.

I think the problem with Kind of Cruel is that I just didn't care. If I have to read another interminable scene between Charlie, Simon, Proust, Sam and the other two who I care so little about I can't even remember their names, I may just hurl the book across the room.

The book picked up a little about halfway through, once the true character of the main suspect began to unfold but I found I was still skimming whole paragraphs in an effort to find something of interest. The weak-as-water 'climax' (told entirely in back-story) and the hypnotist's email which literally went on for pages explaining emotional incest - seemingly lifted straight from a psychology textbook - were the last straw. No more Sophie Hannah for me. Shame because Little Face, Hurting Distance and The Point of Rescue were wonderful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Never again, 14 April 2012
Hi, I have never posted a review before but having just read the last page of this book, I felt I had to. I have read all Sophie Hannahs books and loved them but I hated this one. I was about to give up half way through but kept thinking it would improve. Sadly no. I love books which are real page turners, this one certainly wasnt. I am glad to have finished it. Too many characters, too many stories, just not a good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't wait for it to be finished, 1 May 2012
By 
M. Wynde (U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My "Couldn't wait for it to be finished" is distinct from "I couldn't wait to finish it".

This was a frustrating read that I completed only because I hate to walk away from novels. I found nothing in this book to give a clue to Sophie Hannah's background in poetry as the prose is rather dull and there's little in the way of evocative description in the writing (I read this between "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" and "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" and SH suffers badly in comparison). The characters weren't well-drawn and it's only reading the reviews here that I realise some of my frustrations with apparently needless characters and sub plots is likely to be down to their recurrence across several of SH's novels, a trick that other authors carry off with whilst making individual novels coherent (see Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole books) so why can't SH I wonder? Additionally, a major character turns out to be woefully under-drawn (I shan't say more to avoid spoilers) and the final section of the book is devoted to explaining the plot in what is virtually a monologue.

I can see that there are fans of SH's other work here. But I don't think I'll be sampling any more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, unconvincing characters, daft plot, 24 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is really very poor. Perhaps it suffers by comparison since I had just read a Stig Larsson and The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock which were both well written and gripping, but this one is a real waste of time. The psychobabble is unconvincing, the characters all unsympathetic and inconsistently drawn, the plot ridiculous, the motivations unclear. Don't waste your time or money.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Sophie's best, 15 Mar. 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've bought every one of Sophie Hannah' Crime Books because she writes so differently from the rest. I liked the fact you have two different view points in the plot. But with 'Kind of Cruel' I was more than half way through the book before I even start to like any of the characters.i.e Jo, Amber and Ginny, even the relastionships between Charlie and her sister and the two policemen, Sam and Simon were starting to get on my nerves.

I even felt that I couldn't careless about what happened at Little Orchard, or what the meaning of 'Kind Of Cruel' was and where Amber had, or had not seen it. When I did find out what it all meant I thought 'oh, so what!' and was glad to finish the book. I had pre-order novel, which is something I rarely do, but this was Sophie Hannah so I knew it was going to be good.

I felt so disappointed by this book that I even told Sophie Hannah when I met her at our local book festival. In her talk, she explained how she come up with her plot idea and why she writes the way she does, even explaining that the policeman, Sam always explains everything at the end of the book which made every clear for the reader.

Somehow as a reader, I don't want everything explained to me by a character at the end, I quite like having a few clues along the way to keep me guessing whether I'm on the right track,or not as I try to see if I know who did what to whom and why. The whole idea behind me reading a novel is to be part of what is going on, the outsider looking in, if the whole thing is totally unclear until the last few pages then I might as well read them first and work backwards.

Please, please Sophie give us more of 'The Other Half Lives' A room Swept White' and Lasting Damage' if not I shall have to find another Crime writer to enjoy.

P.s I do know I'm only one little cog :-)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 215 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews