The Shining Girls


The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Pub: June 2013

A time-traveling serial killer hunts down girls who “shine” in Chicago from the 1930s to present-day as Kirby, the one girl who survived his attack, tries to stop him.

Opening line:

He clenches the orange plastic pony in the pocket of his sports coat. It is sweaty in his hand. Mid-summer here, too hot for what he’s wearing.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love time travel, which is why this book has been on my to-read list for awhile. The means of time travel that the author sets up is unique, a House in which time seems to fold over on itself, where things happen simultaneously across eras. I liked this concept, more fantasy-based than sci-fi-based, so you don’t have to worry about the mechanics of how it works, it just does.

The book is told from multiple POVs (third person), including that of the serial killer himself. His sections get rather grisly and are not for those with weak stomachs. Kirby, the girl who managed to survive his attack, reminds me of a slightly-less-jaded Lisbeth Salander (from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Overall, it was an interesting concept, and the ‘magical House’ take on time travel was enough to hold my attention and keep me reading, but because of the nature of the narration — jumping back and forth in time with the characters, often re-living the same event more than once — it ends up being too predictable, and the main character Kirby spends most of the book simply researching and asking questions we already know the answer to, which kills any sense of suspense.

Heads up: lots of violence, gore, sex, language


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