A friend is murdered and that is how our story begins. A group of college students are inspired by the stories and lives of the ancient Greeks. Things get taken too far, they feel as though they are superior to everyone else in their small Vermont, college town. They are destined for great things to be remembered as Achilles or Hercules. One sin leads to another and another.
The characters, wow, just the characters. They are so well written. At first, I was scared that I would get this character list confused but that I did not do. Your favorite is constantly changing throughout the book until you realize that they are all morally gray, none of them are amazing people but they all have some kind of logic behind their actions. The fact of how developed these characters are, are the highlight of ‘The Secret History’.
Everyone seems to love the atmosphere of this book. I think it is fitting for the plot but it was not anything that stood out to me. A small New England college town, its quaint and I think a good setting for a mystery novel but I was not amazed by it.
Tartt’s writing is like Pat Conroy’s but throw in some Stephen King into the mix as well. At first, I was like this writing is amazing and so poetic but then it just got tiresome. This book could be half the link than it actually was. It is wordy and just felt overall too long and that is the biggest downfall for me. If you are a fan of the other two authors that I mentioned, though, you might find this writing enjoyable.
This plot instantly intrigued me but as the story just went on and on I got bored with it. The first and last quarters are the best. Yes, we need the in between but it was just tiresome reading through wordy paragraphs that I think the author just wanted to sound intelligent. I get it, we’re in a fancy college town and these students are supposed to be top notch. Now that I think about it, maybe this writing was intentional. The twists did shock me, some times they were predicted and some times they were not, but I never felt any real emotion towards them. The plot would have been much more enjoyable if the book was shorter.
The characters of this novel were amazing and well developed. Throughout my time reading this, I was thinking of actors who could play them . (Anya Taylor-Joy for Camila, by the way). I will be thinking about them for a while. The setting was very well fitting for a story such as this one. The writing was poetic but it dragged and seemed to go on for ages. I would really recommend to fans of Pat Conroy. This plot was interesting and I was wondering how it would end and what would happen but the writing just wore it down for me.
3 out of 5 stars.