Book Review: Second Life by S.J Watson

“I realize with sudden clarity that we're wearing masks, all of us, all the time. We're presenting a face, a version of ourselves, to the world, to each other. We show a different face depending on who we're with and what they expect of us. Even when we're alone, it's just another mask, the version of ourselves we'd prefer to be.”

― S.J. Watson, Second Life

The bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep returns with a thrilling new psychological thriller. The story seems to be well, with the first chapters rushing between London, Paris, and Berlin in real time and flashback. Many other languages were used to print Watson's book, and Second Life is replete with vocabulary lines that appear designed to speed up translation.

Synopsis from Wikipedia...

Second Life is the story of Julia, who has a perfect life with her husband Hugh and their adopted son, until an incident changes everything. Her sister Kate is murdered in an apparently random attack in Paris and the police seems to be stuck in their investigations. Julia decides to inquire into the murder on her own and finds out, that her sister was using online sites to play out her sexual fantasy by meeting up with strangers. Julia starts visiting some of these sites herself in hope of finding someone connected to Kate.

My reaction to this novel...

I think this thriller book is fantastic. I'm not sure why it garnered such negative reviews on Goodreads, but I'm definitely feeling the opposite of what other book readers did after finishing this one. Okay, so it was sort of dull at start, and it feels like the story differs from what is mentioned in the synopsis at the back of the book. Actually, I was really confused at first since I didn't read anything related to the title throughout the first two sections of the book. However, as I got to about halfway through the book, the story made a significant turn that truly grabbed my interest and is the reason I can't put the book down. Initially, I worried that the author would let me down, but after reading this, I felt as though again I had read Watson's prior book before this one: shocked and unable to stop thinking about the events that happened, and this author is the one who kept making me feel that way.

There were several instances while reading this book's chapters that I felt upset with both the main character and Connor, the adolescent boy who is Kate's son. After what occurred to the main character, Julia, I experienced how wild it may seem, but I also couldn't help but believe that Julia is the only one to blame for what transpired. The author does a good job of describing how unstable someone might become in circumstances that they cannot control or even foresee. I could truly sense the characters' rage and perplexity. Actually, I started to doubt my assumptions about how the plot would unfold. Even though I properly predicted the outcome of the narrative, I still made several assumptions as I read since it was so confusing, exhausting, and terrifying that I eventually gave up trying to guess anything else. Due to the author's ability to evoke such intense emotions in his readers, I have the utmost respect for him. 

Lukas genuinely scares me. Reading parts that included him made me anxious. In spite of this, I only had one disappointment concerning him at the conclusion of the novel since I had not expected his involvement to be so little and actually, at first, I had the impression that the book's whole plot revolved around him. Apart from that, though, I really, truly enjoyed the book—even the conclusion. It was a total cliffhanger, and everyone will really be pissed. I definitely felt that way. Think about my scenario where I finish this book an hour after midnight only to discover that the conclusion is a complete crock. It makes you want to scream and chuck something. When I finished reading the book's final paragraph, I really yelled. I instantly searched if there is any book's next installment, but I couldn't find one. As a result, I wasn't able to go to bed peacefully and I couldn't help but ponder about the events that would occur in the novel. Even though I felt cheated by the author's clever manner of capping off a terrific thriller, I actually liked how it finished.

I really do enjoy this novel, just as I did when I read Watson's previous novel, Before I Go to Sleep. He truly didn't let me down. To all book readers who like reading thrillers, I wholeheartedly suggest this book. This book is unquestionably good.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5/5)

“I guess sometimes it's not so much about how long you've known someone, but about what you've been through together.”

This is real. It doesn't matter how much time we spend with those around us because sometimes, even though we've known them our entire lives, we still don't know them completely. Most of the time, those who are always near to us know things that we do not. 


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.