Sunday, 6 November 2011

Review: Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott

The Story:
When Alex Bishop meets Madigan Sargood again after twelve years apart, everything changes. His childhood sweetheart is beautiful and impulsive, but there is something wrong with her. Something dangerous. Then she commits suicide. Now Alex can't get Madigan out of his head. Is it all in his mind, or is she communicating with him. To save himself and those he loves, Alex must uncover the sinister reason why Madigan took her own life - and why she won't lie still in her grave.

My Thoughts:
If there's one lesson to be learned from my Aussie Author Challenge, it's that there are many books out there which aggravate me to boiling point, but I will finish reading them if the writing is compelling enough. This is the posterbook for stories in that category. Once again, due to NaNoWriMo, this is going to be a listy review.

Things I liked:
- The writing is amazing. Almost lyrical and very descriptive.
- The plot is unpredictable. Even though the blurb says there's paranormal stuff happening, it just didn't feel like a PN book for the first 1/3 so I really wasn't expecting it to get so dark. 
- No storybook endings.  This is a like and dislike of mine. I can't decide exactly where this one goes.
- There aren't any cliched characters and everyone is quite distinct.

Things I didn't like:
- No Characters I actually liked: Huge problem with the titular character. Am forever off the name Madigan. Sorry to all the Madigan's out there. I just have OCD word association. I think she was meant to be portrayed as attractive and enigmatic enough to incite obsession but I just felt she was a manipulative, spoiled, rich cow. The narrator Alex didn't do much for me either. If he were a love interest, I would resign him to the weak, whingey, pathetic man category. Not a good formula.
-The ending to this didn't feel like it resolved anything. I don't think there's going to be a sequel so I would have liked to see a more concrete ending (although, I suppose in life there are no smooth endings).

All in all, despite the things I didn't like about this book, the writing and the plot twists kept me interested enough and I was still thinking about this one after I was finished reading which is a good sign.

The Rating:

* I read this book as part of my 2011 Aussie Authors Challenge


  1. I read this one when it came out. I think you were meant not to be able to decide if it was paranormal or not, till the end (and the author warned her readers that that my review had given spoilers). I read it and yes, it was well-written despite some jarring notes such as being able to find a particular Nguyen in the Melbourne phone book when Nguyen is the Vietnamese version of Smith and there are hundreds of them in the phone book. I agree the characters were not very sympathetic, including the hero,but perhaps that's for the best in this sort of book; I remember the first time I read a Dan Simmons horror novel and being unable to cope because he kept kiling off characters I cared about. :-)

  2. I hate when I don't like the characters in a book I read! It's even worse when I have to hate them for being so non-proactive. I'm surprised by the fact that not liking any characters didn't make you score this one lower.

    Nice little review, Lan...

  3. Sue: I really found the writing to be exquisite. I didn't want to go into the cultural stuff too much because, being Vietnamese myself, Joaquin's character and many of the things associated with him are pretty inaccurate.

    Cathy: I'm surprised too. Hating all the character's normals makes me want to tear out pages but I think it's because I didn't ever feel connected to any of the characters so I didn't feel betrayed by some of their actions. And seriously the writing is just so good.

  4. Yes, I prefer to care about the characters, myself. Maybe that's why I am very picky about my paranormal and don't read thrillers.

    If you'd like to come along for Nova Mob meetings some first Wednesday of the month, Northcote Library, you'll have achance to meet Kirstyn, who;s a member. lLet me know if you ever want to do it; a few of us meet in the city for dinner first.

  5. Sue: I liked Ruth for most of the book and then she sort of turned into a bit of a weak character as well. I really was hoping for a bit of comeuppance for Madigan so that's what kept me reading! I'm so out of touch with the Aussie writer's scene. What's Nova Mob?

  6. Sometimes being aggravated is a good thing. At least that's an emotion, at least it means you care about what's going on to a degree. I would much rather be aggravated than bored to tears.

  7. I have never heard of like the last few books you read. I feel like an invalid :(

  8. Lan: Nova Mob is a Melbourne SF club that meets first wednesday night of the month. I go along because I can't get to the Melbourne SF Club and members overlap. It's fun and we often have interesting guest speakers (Last time I had to miss out on Shaun Tan because I couldn't make it!) or else people in the group talk about stuff they know about. If you're interested, email me for the details.

  9. Oh, ugh for the whining man! That drives me crazy in any character, male or female.

    I'm with you on the mixed feelings about endings that aren't the typical storybook HEA - Mockingjay was like that for me. It wasn't the ending I wanted or expected, but I couldn't help feeling like it was still the right ending...


I believe in comment karma. Comment and I shall return :)