Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DOWN WITH THE SHINE BY KATE KARYUS QUINN - BOOK REVIEW


This might just have been one of the strangest books I've read in a while and I haven't quite decided if that's a good thing or not yet.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Down With The Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn.


The story follows Lennie, the daughter of the Bad Daddy Bandit, who earned his name from bringing Lennie with him on his various errands of holding up ice cream shops and Chuck E. Cheeses. She also comes from a long line of moonshine makers. But the family legacy is more than just bootlegging. After the murder of her best friend, Lennie decides to go to a party in her honour, because she always said they would go together. She brings three jars of the family specialty, and with every sip, Lennie repeats the 'ritual,' granting wishes for those who drink. She even wishes for Dylan to be alive again. But what makes the family business so unique is that the wishes actually come true.

When I started this book, I wasn't sure how far Quinn would take the magic/magical realism elements. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she ran with it. I liked this aspect of the book and I think it really made a difference in my overall enjoyment. I've seen books like this that promise magical realism but end up having some weird excuse or making it all a dream. Everything really happens, despite how crazy some of it seems. Quinn did a great job balancing the real with the outlandish.

The writing of the book was well done. I was able to read it quite quickly, Quinn paced it perfectly. I didn't feel bored because I knew something else was going to come up soon. I think I finished it up in about 3 hours, which is pretty fast for me with this length of a book.

There was a touch of romance as well. I don't think the book needed it, but I wasn't complaining that it was there. I'm a sucker for the enemy turned lover and the best friend sibling turned lover so I was fully on board with the relationship between Lennie and Smith, Dylan's twin brother. I could see how some people wouldn't be a fan because this book's romance because realistically, it's not a necessity in the story. But I think based on a couple of the wishes and some previous background information, the romance is viable.

While I did like most of the book, there were a few things I wasn't a fan of. Some of the things that happened were a little silly, like Lennie's father's friend Rabbit and the rest of his 'crew.' I thought that a few of these elements were a bit weird and unnecessary to the story but I guess they worked with the magical realism element.

I also think that this book less dark than I thought it was going to be. Maybe that's just an expectation thing but I was definitely hoping for a darker and twistier story. I think it had great potential to be darker, especially in the beginning, with the murder and everything, Quinn sets up the story in a great place. But as things progress, the story became more comical and while the underlying theme of 'be careful what you wish for' is still present, it takes on a more satirical quality. Perhaps that is where Quinn wanted to take things, but I was expecting a darker story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I think it had so much more potential and the fact that I can see that unrecognized potential makes me not love it as much.