In order to do this book justice, I have to confess that the way I read it almost certainly detracted from the impact it had on me. I read it in snatches, on my iPhone, on the bus. With sometimes a week or even weeks between each reading. Inevitably my experience was disjointed. I believe that had I read it as a paperback, or even on my iPad, with more continuity, my initial experience might have been different. Indeed re-reading it, or rather re-skimming it, I am seeing things I didn’t give myself the leisure to notice before.
All that said, Kiss Me First is well worth reading. It’s really good on detail, both as to place and character. I know London, and I also know Spain, and the descriptions bring both places alive. The plot is original and well constructed and there are some startling twists. As to the characters, these are revealed slowly. Both of these factors make reviewing the book more difficult. You don’t want to spoil it for the reader by revealing too much information, yet need to give some detail to illustrate your comments.
I didn’t pick upon many of the clues about Leila; the fault is mine. I now realise that, at the very beginning, I unconsciously created an image for her. I saw her character as somewhat akin to the endearing Juno, in the film of the same name. About a quarter of a way in my feelings changed and I began to feel very ambivalent towards her, then began to dislike her. It was only towards the end of the middle of the book that I began to see it differently. By then the clues had become less subtle but a more careful reading has revealed that they were there from the beginning.
Maybe I’m too cynical or world-weary but I had my doubts about the set up from the start. This too is down to the writer’s skill although it meant that for me there was no great surprise in that respect. However, the introduction of a police enquiry very early on, and well placed snippets of information keep the plot moving forward. Especially the way Connor, a new character, is dropped into the mix in a way that indicates how important he is, but without telling you much else for some time. That too kept me reading at a point where I had begun to lose interest. I will never know for sure how much this was due to my disjointed reading pattern, but I did feel the book sagged in the middle. I know that for me it picked right up when Connor was introduced.
I felt I owed it to the author to at least skim the book again before writing this review. Having started to skim I discovered so much wealth that I had not fully appreciated first time round. However, I’m still uncertain about it, but there’s no doubt it is different and well worth reading properly, giving it the attention it deserves, and not butterflying around the way I did.