I’d never even heard of There Will Be Lies before a good friend of mine emailed me and raved about how I absolutely must read this book. It was an absolute must. I admit, the synopsis had me very intrigued. I love secretive books. I love when the blurb on the back leaves me a little unsure about what the book is about exactly. I love how when I start to read I find myself with questions, and that the answers are parceled out slowly and irreverently as though they are little gifts and they’re all going to lead to something spectacular. Even thinking about these quiet little books with big bang endings remind me of all the feels I got when reading Patrick Ness’s More Than This. It left a marked impact on me and I believe that the reason I was so impacted was because I wasn’t quite sure what was coming.
Needless to say I thought that this would be a good one for Badass Book Reviews. I’m not sure why I thought that. It’s really hard to review a book when you can’t really talk about what the book is actually about. Honestly, telling you about what happens in the book is akin to ruining it. There’s a reason that the blurb is vague and I firmly believe that everyone should go in reading There Will Be Lies blind.
So, in lieu of breaking down the meat of the book, I’m going to talk more about why this book only has 4 stars from me from a technical standpoint.
First, some of this book’s strength was in the poetry of the writing. There’s quite a bit of Native American lore and it felt very ‘dreamlike’, which I thought complimented that mythology. For me I had an issue with the structure. There were a lot of chapter breaks that had strange endings. For instance, the book seems to count down, starting at 7. So some chapter breaks ended with a number, ‘4…’, but then some ended with different versions of ‘in the stars’. Shelby ‘fell into the stars’. Shelby ‘scattered like the stars’. Shelby has ‘stars behind her eyelids’.. When I read the first ‘star’ quote, ‘Stars. Everything is Stars’ I thought it was beautiful, with the second the shine hadn’t worn off quite yet. The longer it went on, however, and with the frequency, it began to feel comical. Like, after putting this book behind me, I’ll still remember all the star quotes randomly and chuckle. Overkill. It didn’t need to be. Sometimes less is more.
Second, let’s just say that I think Nick Lake could have used a little more research. Perhaps with those Native American stories (as other reviewers have said), but also with his characters. When you give someone in your story a very important character trait it’s best that you take time and understand the effects it would have on that person or the people around them. I can’t elaborate, but if you decide to read the book feel free to come back here and let’s discuss in the comments, or you can find me on Goodreads. I’d love to get another’s perspective.
Overall though, I did enjoy There Will Be Lies. While it easily could have become something redundant I thought the mythology alongside the story created a unique and interesting landscape to tell us about Shelby Jane Cooper and the chaos that just possibly leads to something better.