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on 20 June 2014
This story isnt bad, far from it, but something stops it from being good.

The story follows one Jane Charlotte who has been arrested for murder. During the questioning, she tells the police that she is a member of a secret organisation. Her division, the Bad Monkeys, is an execution squad, determined to rid the world of evil people. But the man she has just killed was not on the target list.

You start the book thinking this is a good science fiction novel, a bit different like terry pratchett turned bad. It even gets better as it dives more in the psychological aspect of the main character. Is she insane? Addled from drugs? Compulsive outrageous liar? Or is it all true?

As the characters and plotline are reavealed you are given Jane's version and a counter 'reality' version. You get to decide throughout what you believe, and the truth is not given away till the very end. You are kept guessing throughout. That in itself should deserve a better rating, the talent required to give you enough to always keep wondering but not to over weigh it one way or another is amazing.

Buuuuuuut, its tiring in its repetitiveness of plot and discussions. It takes half the book before she meets the bad monkeys and she doesnt have that much to do with them as a team. You spend so much of your time unsure of the truth that there is no connection to the character, who isnt very likable just a bit sarcastic. I know a good book is boring when you have a complete wholsome character as the shinning knight (I have always liked my characters a bit damaged, a bit evil) but I spent most the book watching more interesting characters slide past. I was left straining to catch a better look out of the corner of my eye,while Jane took up my whole vison. The problem is when a charcter has to be shadowy and a bit formless to keep readers guessing you just cant connect. And the little I did find out was off putting. By the end I didnt really care whether or not it was true, I just wanted to see what the other better characters were doing.

Add to that the fact that the end was a little bit like "and it was all a dream" for me and you have one unsatisfied bunny.

Apart from that, yeah its a good clever unnusual little book... but I would hesitate to foist it on a friend.
3 people found this helpful
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on 3 August 2012
Jane Charlotte, arrested for murder, is telling her literally incredible story to a sceptical psychiatrist. It's a story of secret organisations fighting evil, using weapons straight out of sci-fi, learning techniques that sound more like brainwashing, and a fair bit of murder, paranoia, and - in Jane Charlotte's case - rather more illegal drugs and dubious morality than is typical.

Of course, one of the big questions in any first-person narrative is just how reliable is the narrator? Matt Ruff keeps playing with our suspicions here, weaving the sadly plausible and the frankly incredible into a labyrinthine (and sometimes too confusing) narrative. There are twists and turns all the way through, right up to the very end.

This isn't an especially long book, and the action moves along at a good place, so it's a pretty quick and easy read.
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on 3 April 2016
I enjoyed all of the book but I enjoyed the discussions part slightly more than when we get to the Bad Monkeys. But this says more about me than the book, as I prefer all things psychological. The book was recommended on the LBC radio station and I just had to buy it as the presenter said he couldn't put the book down, and that was true for me too because I really did look forward to returning to the book each night.
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on 6 February 2014
..... tough one. Liked a lot of the concepts and there were definitely bits I liked. However the plot seemed a bit contrived and the end seemed to be magicked up out of nowhere, with no real sense of tension leading up to it. The quality of writing was a bit erratic as well. Might check out some of Mr Ruff's other work though, because I liked some of the ideas.
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on 7 August 2015
I thought I was going to love this book and did at the beginning but it tried too hard to be too cleaver for its own good
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on 31 May 2012
I read this book on a recommendation and it's not my usual style of book. However I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it really hard to put down. It's very fast-paced with something happening on practically every page. Great storyline which pulls you in and makes you wonder what's going on. There's no point trying to guess ahead though as there are so many twists and turns and you're never quite sure if you're hearing (or reading!) the truth.
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on 17 November 2016
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on 9 August 2015
Started off well but tumbled into gibberish. Sorry mr ruff this was not for me
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on 24 August 2013
A cracking novel which sets off at a breakneck pace and keeps you guessing right to the final twist within a twist within a twist. If you like stories like Fight Club and 12 Monkeys, where you're never sure if the protagonist is crazy or not, this book is for you. Begging to be made into a decent movie!
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on 1 April 2012
I loved this book great concept and super fun (esp the scary clowns) easy to read, fast paced and slightly crazy
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