Second Life is a psychological thriller written by S.J Watson who is the same writer of the successful novel Before I Go To Sleep which I remember I liked.
The book is about Julia who is living a happy life in London with her husband, Hugh, and a teenage son, Connor, when suddenly her world is shaken up when her sister, Kate, was murdered in Paris. She’s convinced that the police isn’t doing the best they can to catch the culprit, so Julia decides to take matters into her own hands. She finds her sister’s filofax and inside sees something that might be a username and a password for a website that her sister frequented. Aware of the danger, she dives into the world of cybersex, living another life by trying to pretend she’s Kate which to her seems like a good idea in the hope that she may lure her sister’s killer into captive. But soon realizes she’s falling more than what she bargained for.
This is one of those books that you’ll either love or hate. I found the first part really slow moving and repetitive to the point that turning the pages and continue reading has become a real struggle for me. I’m a fan of thriller books because of the suspense, the thrill, the mystery and the feeling of adrenaline pumping through your veins which is undeniably addicting. But I didn’t feel any of that on the first half of this book which was frustrating for me.
I don’t know what’s the aim of the author for the readers to feel about Julia but for me I found her character so hateful. I don’t know if she’s dense or just plainly stupid. Even though she knows what the consequences she may have out of a certain decision but she still do it anyway. She knows that she may put her family’s welfare into danger especially her son’s but she still can’t stop herself from doing it which may have to do in a topic that this book touches on, addiction. It shows how addiction can affect one’s mental state, behavior and decision making skills.
On the second half of the book, the story slowly picked up then the twists and turns struck one after the other. It was the part that has partly satisfied the thriller-enthusiast inside me. The scenes has become gripping and exciting, one of those can’t-put-down-the-book moment until one final bomb thrown and boom! That finally spoiled it for me. The finale left me dumbfounded. I remember being wide eyed with furrowed eyebrows and the words “WHAT?! That’s it? That’s all?” came out of my mouth enough for everyone in my house to hear. It was a huge cliffhanger. I dislike cliffhangers like that because it leaves me unanswered questions. Did she or did she not?
This isn’t the first time that I have read something that has an open-ended finale and I don’t have anything against that as long as it works. It’ll give the readers their own interpretations, their own assumptions and they have to work on their own imaginations as to what might have happened next and that’s a good thing. It’s like the authors leave that part in the minds of the readers. But this time, in this book, I just don’t think it worked on me.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I think it’s not that bad after all actually. Maybe my dissatisfaction at the time of reading rooted from the immense curiosity that I have as to what might happen next, I was so engrossed to know what will Julia do and then I was left hanging.
All in all it’s not too bad of a read, maybe it’s just too slow moving for me, the adrenaline rush, the kind of thrill and suspense that I seek isn’t there. If you don’t mind reading characters like Julia who is not your typical kind of heroine or protagonist then might as well give this a read. I read reviews that some people actually loved this book.