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Our Kind of Cruelty

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A novel by Araminta Hall

 

Recently I read this novel which is 273 pages in length with acknowledgments in the back and a Note From the Author. The Author is Araminta Hall and the novel is called Our Kind of Cruelty.

This fictional novel discusses the relationship between the two main characters throughout the book. The storyline does jump around quite a bit throughout the whole book. The beginning of one chapter may be present day and then the two pages later we are reviewing the past.

There are a few other characters that go along with the main characters and one plays a very important role towards the middle to the end of the story. This is one of those stories where the truth is never revealed. The story is designed to have you questioning everything and everyone. There are a couple decent plot twists that you do not see coming. Obviously, in all writing, you will see a plot twist coming eventually. The key to a good story, in my personal opinion, is whether or not the reader can predict the plot twist before it happens. For example, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with the girl, the plot twist is they get into a fight and aren’t speaking, then they work out their problems and everything is fine for their happily ever after. That is an overused plot twist and very predictable. The storyline may be filled with good parts but when you can predict what is happening before it happens, that makes the book not worth reading. Because you could have written the book yourself. This novel is not one of those happily ever after love stories.

I can’t say it’s not a happily ever after though, to be fair. It’s an open-ended story if that makes sense. There is an ending, however, it’s up to you to decide the fate that comes next. After everything settles, does everything work out in the end or was what happened too far? Were we wrong about our assumptions?

“Oh God, V, you made me wait, but I have finally received a reply to all the letters I have written.” (Page 272.)

This novel keeps you guessing at each turn if the main male character is who you think he is, or if the female role is as innocent as the male paints her out to be. You are guessing with each flip of the page, you are wondering as each new detail emerges, and you are left wondering about the truth.

Before I read this novel I read the reviews online about it. The reviews were correct in my opinion. If you are the type of person who likes the story straightforward with a happy ending that does in fact clearly end, this story is not for you. This is the novel for those who like to help create the story as it goes. If you like to decide where the characters end up on the good versus evil scale all on your own, this story is right for you.

I hope I am not confusing you. This was a great read. It was not too much and it gave plenty of detail throughout the story to help you map it out. You have to be the one who pieces it together and make your own picture with it. What you see may be completely different than what I saw while I was reading the book.

“We have a signal: As soon as she raises her hand and pulls on the silver eagle she always wears around her neck, I must act. In those dark throbbing rooms I would push through the mass of people, pulling at the useless man drooling over her, and ask him what he thought he was doing talking to my girlfriend.” (Page 1.)

Here is what I gathered:

We learned about the game the two characters played that only they knew about. We learned about him and we learned about her. We get details and stories to fill in the details for the first part of the book.

The story starts to build and we learn that the past is over and we are seeing the present. Girl and boy are not together at this time, however, if they are close or if they are talking are up to the reader to decide. The male could be crazy, so he’s making everything up as he goes. Or the girl is trying to look coy and innocent in everything because she is really the guilty party. Personally, I leaned a specific way on this decision but I don’t want you to read this before the book and use what I said to change your experience. You have to go into this book with a clear head and your unbiased judgemental hat on. You need to judge everyone, everything, and every word.

Because right about here is the first plot twist you did not see coming at all. And I felt rage when it happened. I felt the pain. I felt protective of someone I did not expect to feel protective of. (Go figure, a character in a book!)

This is about the time where that plot twist gets thrown to the back, but not because the author was lazy. It was not thrown off to the side because the author forgot to prepare this twist better. The fact that it was thrown to the back shows just how much she did know about what she was writing.

So the story continues and you have that plot twist in the back of your mind, wondering when it will finally be addressed. Or you have fear in the back of your mind that the author will forget about it, even though it was an amazing twist that had so many directions it could have gone. Yes, that’s how amazing it was to me. Add details here that may or may not be important, such as a cute story from back in the past when everything was perfect.

Add big dramatic scene right now. I wouldn’t say it was another plot twist though, just the build of a climax. This is one detail right here that builds the final plot twist later. The first plot twist, the build of the climax, and then the final plot twist are the moments where you are required to piece the story together and make your decision.

If you don’t make that decision then you just sit there, jaw dropped, mouth opened wide, wondering and questioning everything that just happened. Araminta Hall tells you what happens without telling you what actually happened. It’s like a coloring book, with words. Or a Mad-Lib style story where you have to fill in the missing pieces.

There is a bit of violence to this book, as expected for the name. There are sexual in nature discussions going on as well throughout the whole book. As to be expected when talking about violence and romance in the same book. If I do remember correctly there is no violent intentional domestic abuse between any male lover and the female lover, does that make sense? If there was any domestic abuse, it gets played off as an accident and it was so brief I don’t even remember it. So I apologize if I’m mistaken on that detail.

I guess now would be a good time to say this novel is a love triangle type of story. There was boy number one falls in love with the main girl. Something happens to cause their parting. Girl meets guy number two and the drama begins in our heads. Is the girl the bad person in the story, is male number one or male number two? Is male number two really a bad guy at all or was he just a helpless victim in the game of love?

Unfortunately, this is not a story I can clearly spell out for you. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to ruin the novel if you have not read it already. Just like the previous reviews I have done, there will always be details I can’t share, you’ll just have to pick it up and read it yourself.

If you do read this, or if you already have, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are! Feel free to leave a comment and start a discussion. I would recommend this story to anyone who likes light drama, mystery, a little romance, and occasional violent thoughts/tendencies. I would suggest not letting anyone under 17/18 read this unless they are mature enough to know not to play or imitate the game described at the beginning of the novel. If they are a teenager who does stupid dares online for likes, this book might be one to skip because they might think it would be “cool” to make up their own version of the game. And as we all know these types of dares and games can become deadly.

“V’s house was dark, except for the gleaming light on the porch. The shutters and curtains were all drawn, apart from in the kitchen, but this room was dark as well, the moonlight glinting off all the steel and concrete. I knew V was inside, although I stopped my mind from wondering at what she was doing. I checked my watch and it was nearly midnight, which made me feel better. V got tired and she would no doubt be asleep, dreaming maybe of me.”  (Page 137.)

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