The first 12 reviews are up on Amazon for 88 North (there are a couple of others on Goodreads), so I thought I’d see what they said, and find out whether I gave Nadia and Jake a good final outing. Writing and finishing the book in 6 months really took it out of me, and I found it emotionally draining at times, not to mention the early morning insomnia-fuelled sessions. Before I knew it, it was published, and I didn’t have enough time to reflect and judge objectively if I’d produced a winner or a turkey. So, here’s a summary, the good, the not-so-bad, and one (very minor) ugly 🙂
The top review (Lindsey) is titled ‘Fitting Finale’, and it’s pretty much framed on my wall, as it was (at the time of review) her top book of the year (and she reviewed 85), which made me very happy. She really liked Nadia’s inner conflict, without it being a ‘soppy love story’, and connected with Jake who had his own tough storyline in this book.
Whispering stories is an Amazon Top500 reviewer, so I paid special attention to this one, but the title awed me: a prime example of how you write an outstanding thriller. She found it refreshing to have a gasp-out-loud thriller series based on a woman who can definitely hold her own. She also said Wow, what a book to end the series with!
Another Amazon Top500 reviewer was book trail, who gave it 4 stars, but only had good things to say about it, such as it’s billed as a spy thriller, but has a lot more to offer to be honest, and said it was fast-paced action, violent in parts, and would make a great action movie.
Another reviewer (Sweetpea) who doesn’t pull her punches admitted to being worried about how I would pull the whole story – that is, all three books – together in the finale, as at the end of book 2 the reader was left on a precipice. So it was a huge relief to read that it was ‘the perfect ending‘.
I won’t go through all 12, but the gist is as follows: it seems to be the best of the three books, maybe because so much is at stake, but also because everyone this time identified with Nadia (the woman who never gives up) and how she reacted to the challenges facing her. In 66 metres and 37 Hrs, some readers had issues with either Jake or Nadia, but this time the book seemed to work for both. People also loved the locations, and their variety, they all seemed so real, which is really pleasing to hear as (obviously?) I’ve not been to North Korea (nor even Russia – ssshh, it’s a secret). As well as the book allowing nearly equal space to Nadia and Jake, people also really enjoyed the secondary characters, finding them fleshed out and, especially in the case of Blue Fan, mysterious and intriguing.
I have had a couple of comments on the realism of one of the action scenes, where it stretches the bounds of human limitations (when Jake is submerged in icy waters). Oddly enough, last night I was reading Cold Blood by Andy McNab, where it happens to his hero in chapter 3… But fair comment.
And there was one mild ‘ugly’ comment – one reviewer didn’t like the pink writing on the front cover as it was difficult to read. I laughed out loud when I read this one, firstly because I’m partly colour blind and also found it not so easy to read, and was a bit surprised when I received the draft cover, but I showed it a few people and they all thought it was striking. [So Rhianne, I’m with you :-))] However, people are always telling me the covers are superb (and they’re right), so well done HarperCollins!
All in all, it seems (so far, at least) as if I did a good job for Nadia, even if I put her through hell yet again. As with all three books, this one was also seen as a page-turner with dramatic scenes, zero cholesterol, and with interesting info you pick up with ease (e.g. about offshore installations) that makes you want to know more.
The twelfth review was short but succinct, and like the twelfth day of Xmas, nicely rounded off this first batch of reviews (thanks Jo):
I have waited for this book to be published and I was not disappointed. A thriller from start to finish. Every page urging you on to read it and turn to the next. J F KIRWAN strikes a hit again.
I’ll end this blog with a quote from another frame-worthy review, this time by Steph:
“About 50% through the book I stopped, grabbed my husband’s tablet (on which he was in the middle of watching something or other) and bought a copy of the first book in the trilogy for him, because not only did he HAVE to read these books, but he HAD to start right NOW!”
Doesn’t get much better than that.