My rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the author of The Passenger -hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "a dead-serious thriller (with a funny bone)" - and the bestselling Spellman Files series comes a suspenseful novel about a new teacher at a not-so-elite boarding school who accidentally incites a gender war among the students and staff.
When Alexandra Witt arrives at Stonebridge Academy and insists on moving into a ramshackle cottage in the woods, curiosity among the student body and the staff skyrockets. Who is this young teacher who came here alone, dresses like the kids, and left her last school under a cloud of speculation?
With its picturesque campus and classic uniforms, Stonebridge might look the part, but as Alex soon learns, it's anything but old school. When she advises one of her new students to stand up for herself, the girl takes her advice a little too much to heart. Long-simmering tensions between the boys and girls boil over into a fight. And then total war.
By the time Gemma, Alex's favorite student, starts uncovering Stonebridge's darkest secrets with the help of some unlikely allies, Alex's bumpy start has become a nightmare. Cast into a role she never wanted, she watches the spark she ignited consume everything around her. And the only way out might carry an even higher cost.
Told by four narrators, none of whom inspires total confidence, The Swallows unfolds with brilliant timing, puzzle-like plotting, and riveting storytelling that will shock and delight readers everywhere.
The Swallows is told from multiple points of view which in itself can be confusing but add to that so many characters and it’s easy to see that this book takes an awful lot of concentration just to know who is “talking” and to stay focussed. So many characters made it difficult to know who was who and so many times I “lost the plot” because of it. It was a real headache to keep up with the storyline and the characters that I almost gave up. I did persevere but it was overly long and to be honest nothing much happened.
This novel was billed as a mystery/thriller but it was neither. I felt the genre was all wrong - it should have been a YA novel and I’m sure would appeal more to this demographic. There was no big reveal or twist that could in my opinion have saved it. It was also annoying that it seemed to have little sub plots that went nowhere and therefore rendered them pointless as having no relevance or tie up to the main story.
All in all it was an ok novel no fireworks, no real drama to get your teeth into and rather lack lustre characters. It could have been half its length, 501 pages requires a hefty investment of time so the author has to make it worth the effort, in my opinion it wasn’t , so sadly I have to give this a rather poor 3 stars.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.