Author: Robert Galbraith
Publisher: Mulholland Publishing
Length: 455 pages
Original Publishing Date: June 24th, 2014
Series: Cormoran Strike #2
Where I got it: Powell's Books
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...
Main characters: 4.5/5
I have to admit that I have kind of a thing for Cormoran Strike. While he’s not the YA hunk of my reader-dreams, he’s wonderful all the same. Sometimes detective novels get so focused in the solving of the mystery that you don’t really get to have the same character development as you do in other novels. And while the story arcs of Cormoran and Robin aren’t as front-and-center as in the first novel, their personalities continue to shine through. I’m interested to see where Rowling takes these two as these novels progress. (She’s said she wants to write more Cormoran Strike novels than Harry Potter novels!). I totally sympathize with Robin and her passion to be more involved in detective work, and even though her fiancé Matthew is super annoying, he’s still pretty complex. I mean, do I ship Cormoran and Robin? Yes. Do I think that has a lesser chance of happening than Hermione and Snape? Yeah, probably. I’m still going to hold out hope though.
Secondary characters: 3.5/5
There are so many secondary characters in this book that I don’t even know where to start. Everyone seemed to have a reason to kill Owen Quine. One thing I didn’t really like was that there were some unanswered questions involved with some of the secondary character’s storylines, but they were very small issues. Also Matthew was really annoying, but luckily he wasn’t really in a majority of the novel.
Writing style: 4/5
Rowling’s style is so deliciously detailed. The novel gets pretty gross at points when talking about Owen’s murder as well as his book, and it felt a little jarring. Rowling’s first book as Galbraith felt a little more clean-cut even though it was still disturbing. So it was a little weird to see these elements at play in this novel, but it ended up working out.
The plot centers around the murder of a controversial author Owen Quine, and the posthumous circulation of his latest novel, Bombyx Mori, which is a thinly-veiled attack on the people around him. The novel in question is termed “a perverse Pilgrim’s Progress” (shout-out to the other English majors who understand that reference), and boy, is it gross. I’m not exaggerating. It’s really disgusting at most parts, but then again, its meant to be disturbing, so it definitely works. It’s a little hard to reconcile the idea that some of the grossest stuff I’ve ever read was also written by the author who penned Harry Potter. Other than that, the plot was very engaging from start to finish. It was really hard for me to put this book down. Even though it was over 400 pages, it was exciting for the majority of the novel.
I feel like some detective novels purposefully leave out the most important clues so that the reader has no way of figuring out who had done it. Thankfully, however, The Silkworm does not suffer from this problem. I didn’t guess the ending by a long shot, but I realized that a lot of the details that led toward the conclusion were pretty clear upfront. Half the fun of detective novels is guessing who-dun-it, so it’s nice that there’s a good element of that in this novel. I wish there had been a little more action towards the end of this book like there was in The Cuckoo’s Calling, but it was still a satisfying ending.
Best scene: When Robin saved her and Cormoran from getting into a huge car crash.
Reminded Me Of: Agatha Christie novels, if only because everyone hated the victim and had a motive
Positives: the details, Cormoran and Robin’s relationship, the mystery elements
Negatives: Matthew, the gross parts, the parts with Charlotte
Cover: I love the symmetrical aspect of the illustration, and the font is perfect for this story.
Verdict: I’d still say The Cuckoo’s Calling is my favorite Cormoran Strike novel, but The Silkworm is entirely engaging and a great mystery.
Rating: 8.0 / 10 (5 stars)
Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!