ARC REVIEW: The Victim – by Max Manning

Title: The Victim
Author: Max Manning
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 6th 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Finished reading: June 29th 2019
Pages: 336

“Life is a game of lies, and death is the only truth. Time to play.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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There was just something about the cover and its contrast that caught my eye when I first saw it, and as soon as I read the blurb I was sold. There is no doubt that the premise of The Victim is simply fascinating; a story where we follow two alternative storylines based on the decision of the main character Gem to fight or surrender during an attack in the first chapters. This is without doubt an unique concept and one that will also make you wonder what you would do yourself in a similar situation… And you will soon realize that there is a reason you won’t find solid advice on the matter, as there seems to be no clear correct answer as to what you should do as every perp and situation is unique. It was very interesting to see the consequences of both choices for Gem, not only the direct consequences but also how her life was changed afterwards.

Like I said, this concept of having two alternative storylines, one where Gem surrendered and one where Gem decided to fight, definitely makes for an unique read. I do have to say that things can get quite confusing as we not only have to keep apart two different versions of Gem’s story, but also what happens to other characters after her decision to fight or surrender. While at all times it is specified which storyline you are currently reading, it is kind of hard to keep track of which event belongs to what storyline and all that information might be a little too much to juggle at one time. I myself definitely wish I would have thought to take notes when I started reading, because it would have been easier to keep both versions apart that way. As you can imagine, this confusion and difficulty to separate and follow both alternative storylines did take away some of the reading pleasure for me. I can’t say I wasn’t a fan of the main characters either, and Gem started to frustrate me after a while… I did think that the suspect was an interesting character and I enjoyed finding out more about his past and motive. Did I think certain aspects of the plot and especially the ending were not all that credible? Yes. Did I end up having mixed thoughts about The Victim? Also yes. But I can’t deny it’s a very original concept and fans of the thriller genre will most likely find themselves intrigued.


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WWW Wednesdays #229 – July 3rd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally reading my copy of The Boy Who Steals Houses by fellow book blogger C.G. Drews! I have superhigh expectations for this one and I’m not sure my heart is ready for this story. xD I’m also starting another pending ARC: Trance by Adam Southward. And my Spanish reread of the fifth Harry Potter book Harry Potter Y La Orden Del Fénix. is going pretty well as I’m about a third into the story now… Not bad considering it has almost 900! pages haha.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/07
I definitely understand the love for this story now. What a twisted and fascinating ride! While it’s true that there were a few minor things that prevented me from handing out the full five stars, there is no denying that both the premise and plot itself are absolutely brilliant. There is nothing ordinary about Jar Of Hearts and you will have to brace yourself for a very intense ride.

2. The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2/5 stars) REVIEW 07/07
WARNING: unpopular opinion ahead. There is a reason I’ve been posponing my first meeting with Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s books, and it has a lot to do with the fact that a combination contemporary romance AND a hyped book is normally a sign of trouble for me.

3. The Victim by Max Manning (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/07
The premise of this story is fascinating, where we follow two alternative storylines based on the decision of the main character Gem to fight or surrender during an attack. It definitely makes for an unique read, although things can get confusing as we not only have to keep apart two different versions of Gem’s story, but also other characters. While at all times it is specified which storyline you’re reading (fight or surrender), it is kind of hard to keep track of which event belongs to what storyline and it takes away some of the reading pleasure. It’s very original though!

4. The Broken Ones by Sarah A. Denzil (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/07
I was looking forward to The Broken Ones, but while I finished it in record time, I have to say I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. It’s a super quick read and the plot as a whole is quite interesting, but I had serious issues with the main characters (couldn’t stand them for different reasons) and some plot twists were quite farfetched. I also saw one of the big twists coming quite early on… All in all not my favorite.

5. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (3,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I won’t be writing a full review for this short story collection, but what I can say is that I always enjoy my time with Hercule Poirot and his investigation methods. I was craving another Hercule Poirot story after watching The Murder On The Orient Express movie again the other day, and this short story collection did the trick. I’m looking forward to read another full story again soon though! I’ve heard The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd is excellent, so I’l be looking forward to pick it up soon.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few ARCs left that are pending in July and August and The Silent Ones by K.L. Slater is up next. I can’t wait to read this one! I also still want to read House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux soon… And I’m in the mood for historical fiction, so I’ll probably pick up Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens as well. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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WWW Wednesdays #228 – June 26th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Guess who is finally reading Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier? I’ve been meaning to do so ever since I saw all those raving reviews last year and I’m definitely excited to be reading it now. I’ve also picked up my TBR jar pick The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout… It’s my first experience with her work and I’m hoping it will be a good one. And I’ve finally started my Spanish reread of the next Harry Potter book I had pending: Harry Potter Y La Orden Del Fénix. I admit book five isn’t my favorite of the series (mostly due to Umbridge) and this Spanish version has a whopping 893 pages so it will take a while for me to finish it… I’ve been reading a chapter or two a day and so far I’m enjoying myself; I’ve missed the Harry Potter world!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/06
I’ve been wanting to try his work for a while now, so I was stoked when I received the news my request for an ARC was approved a few months ago. I mean, the whole the serial killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury on the cover instantly makes the heart of any thriller fan skip a beat, or am I wrong? Reading that kind of phrase on the cover gives you a lot of expectations, and those were definitely met with this story. What a ride! While this is actually book four of a series, I’m happy to announce it can be read as a stand-alone as well. A fast, disturbing and shocking legal thriller with a serial killer twist… Oh yes, I’m definitely a Steve Cavanagh fan now.

2. The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/06
I think what made me enjoy The Woman In Cabin 10 was the Agatha Christie like feel of the plot and the whole premise of having a small group of people ‘trapped’ in a small environment and the possibility of something dodgy going on… I have a serious weak spot for those kind of stories. I do have to say that the main character is beyond annoying. Lo Blacklock is one of those spineless and whiny women without a real personality and I didn’t appreciate how her anxiety was used as an excuse for her actions. Things can be said about the credibility of the plot in general, and I also found the ending to be too abrupt and it left too many questions unanswered. I can’t deny I still mostly enjoyed reading The Woman In Cabin 10 though, both due to the writing, the Agatha Christie feel and the travel/Norway element.

3. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/06
I think most of you will know by now I’m a huge Fredrik Backman fan, and I’ve been saving Us Against You as it was the final fiction book I had pending and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I couldn’t resist any longer though, and I’m glad I finally read it. While, like with Beartown, I initially thought it was going to be slowburner for me, things soon improved and this story quickly won over my heart. Then it took hold firmly of that same heart, ripped it out and teared it into a million tiny pieces… I don’t cry often while reading, but this story definitely made my eyes water. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse, rape, alcoholism, LGBT discrimination and violence… Difficult topics, but the author is able to incorporate them realistically and respectfully into the story. Fredrik Backman has done it again! It’s not my absolute favorite, but without doubt an excellent albeit heartbreaking read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few ARCs left that are pending in July and August and The Victim by Max Manning is next… It’s been on my shelves for a while and I can’t wait to finally get to it. I’m also finally picking up my copy of The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews! My copy is already waiting for me next to my reading chair, although I’m not sure my heart is ready for it. I also still want to read House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux soon. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Cellar by Natasha Preston; yet another title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages.


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