Jesus, what a rollercoaster! I have been looking forward to this book for such a long time with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. What if this wasn't as good as the other two in the series What if I had somehow built up the other two books in retrospect, leaving only disappointment in the third Would I ever stop with the rhetorical questions and get on with the review
Let me tell you: this was fucking good. Like REALLY GODDAMNED GOOD. Like I-stayed-up-way-past-my-bedtime-to-finish-this good. The book starts off at a sprint and just keeps going, and I think this is my favourite out of all three of Robert Galbraith's books. There's something about the murder mystery in this book that I really, REALLY enjoyed. It wasn't as heavy with exposition as The Cuckoo's Calling (anyone else remember the paragraphs of dialogue from that book), nor as outlandish as The Silkworm. This serial killer was creepy, realistic, sadistic, and the question of who he actually turns out to be is set up so well that I couldn't figure it out until the last third or so.
Speaking of the last third - OH MY GOD. SHIT GOES DOWN. I realise this isn't my most coherent review but I'm currently coming down from my Career of Evil-induced high. I was alternately laughing like a maniac, screaming at a book and jumping up and down in excitement. People thought I was possessed. Note to self: don't scream with all the windows open or the neighbours will think you're weird.
In terms of characters, Cormoran is back being his usual awesome self, and there are some great new characters introduced in this book (hi, Shanker!), but the real badass is Robin. I love her. She is so fucking awesome that I can hardly form coherent sentences. What a badass. What. A. Bad. Ass. She is the heart, soul, and central nervous system of these books, which took me a while to figure out, but now that I realise this I love and admire her as a character even more. She goes from strength to strength and I cannot wait to see how she develops in future books. I'm officially crushing majorly on her. WHAT A BADASS.
(view spoiler)[I should also mention that Robin and Cormoran are my new favourite OTP. I had my doubts that an eventual pairing was the direction they were headed in the first book, but my opinion is now cemented. CHAPTER 40 is all I will say on that front. As someone who reviewed this book in a newspaper said, their cautious non-courtship is so entertaining.
On the subject of relationships, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING, ROBIN Matthew is the limpest of limp dishrags. I had a moment's sympathy for him, rapidly drowned out by the realisation that he's still a vain, smug, overbearing, disrespectful dickwad who does not deserve you.
Finally - no more Cormoran mooning over Charlotte here. Thank god. That bitch is crazy and I am kind of hoping she turns up as either the victim or the suspect in a subsequent book (hide spoiler)]
If you liked the other Cormoran Strike books, you will like this, or at least I assume you will. I loved it. I haven't had a book keep me up all night in a while, and this did that and more. It had my heart racing. It made my neighbours think I am some sort of super excitable psychopath who screams at poor inanimate books. And it reaffirmed my love for Robin, who is as great a female character in any book I've ever read.
*** UPDATE ***
Ok so I've had a few more days to think about this book, and there is one thing in particular that I really need to get off my chest. My family hasn't read this book yet, so I'm forced to unleash my feelings upon my fellow Goodreaders.
(view spoiler)[MATTHEW CUNLIFFE. I read the book, had some sympathy in some parts and had significantly less sympathy in others, but now that I'm a few days out of my reading experience, I have Definite Feelings(TM) about Matt.
WHAT. A. DICK. What a two-faced prick, meddling with Robin's mobile and her interactions with Strike. She has NEVER given him any plausible reason to think that she can't be trusted - as anyone who has read Career of Evil knows, Matt is the one who has been untrustworthy in more ways than one, from his cheating on Robin during the worst moment of her life to him gleefully presenting her with the newspaper showing that Cormoran is already advertising for a replacement for her.
I was just thinking about this, and I was dumbstruck firstly by what a raging asshole Matt is, and secondly that Robin has no perceivable notion of what her fiancée is really like. I think it's the invasion of privacy that is REALLY ticking me off - if the revelation of him cheating can't break the relationship, surely the knowledge that her fiancée (now husband - regrettably) not only doesn't trust her but is actively working against her to keep her from her ambitions must. As Shanker says, Robin is kind and good, and really doesn't deserve to be dragged down by such a dead weight. (hide spoiler)]
Ah I had to get that off my chest. It's all I've been thinking about since I finished the book.