‘Second Life’, by SJ Watson: Book Review

Second-Life-SJ-Watson-Book-CoverJulia is sure she has the perfect life. She has a loving husband and a wonderful son and she couldn’t be happier.

But when her sister is murdered in Paris her life starts to unravel. Desperate to find out what happened, she delves into the world of online dating and cybersex that her sister was involved in. She gets tangled up in a mess of lies when she meets Lukas, who she thinks might have some answers about her sister’s death.

But her fixation on this new man is dangerous and she must decide whether finding out what happened in Paris is worth the risk of losing her family completely.

SJ Watson’s second novel Second Life is a book that I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while. I absolutely loved Before I Go To Sleep, his debut novel, so I had high hopes for this one.

Unfortunately, Second Life didn’t quite live up to the expectations. I know it’s unfair to compare it to Before I Go To Sleep, they are two different books after all, but it’s hard not to when the first was so riveting.

Second Life is a much slower paced book. Nothing much happens in the first two-thirds of the book, and even the last third isn’t as exciting as you would hope. I suppose it’s a more character based thriller, than event based one.

In saying that, though, I didn’t particularly like Julia as a character. In a nutshell, she’s stupid and annoying. Her decisions throughout the book have absolutely no basis in reality or logic, and I just wanted to smack her for most of it.

It does become apparent that she is a recovering alcoholic, so  suppose you could argue that her addictive personality clouds her judgement. She becomes addicted to Lukas, and to finding out what happened to her sister, so logic isn’t exactly at the forefront of her mind.

I’ve (thankfully) never lost anyone in the way that she loses her sister, so I don’t know the way the mind works when going through so much grief. Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt. But she just gets herself into one ridiculous situation after another, so it’s difficult to see past it.

The ending has divided a lot of people as well. I’m still not sure myself if I was happy with it or not. I won’t say any more than that so you can decide yourself. Maybe let me know if you do read it, what you think?
Second Life is a good story that shows the dangers than can come with the internet, and the way people meet others online. But if you’re looking for a fast-paced, exciting thriller, then maybe this isn’t the book for you.

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