Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

aka the time I finished this one on audiobook

 

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Have you ever played two truths and a lie?


Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

 

I’m sure you’ve all heard about this one, as everyone and their grandma was talking about it for weeks before and after its release date. It was one that I was extremely excited to be approved for, and I started it with all intentions of finishing it within a few days…and then, I got distracted. But, here I am. I’ve done it, and these are my thoughts.

 

The characters

 

Emma

Her motivation was a big question mark for the majority of the book. No one understood why she was so invested in solving this mystery and reliving what was an obviously traumatizing experience 15 years later. It felt like even she wasn’t sure of her motives.

Aside from her sketchy reasoning, which eventually becomes clear, she is a picture in questionable decision making. The first in a long line of girl why moments was agreeing to go back to Camp Nightingale. Then she follows someone, who may or may not hold a grudge against her, into the woods. Alone. Without telling anyone. She is too trusting for someone as suspicious of others as she is.

As a character, she’s… Okay. She wasn’t the reason for me finishing this…in the least.

 

“There’s something worse than death.”

“Such as?”

“Not knowing.”

 

 

Franny & Lottie

What a strange friendship. At first, I was convinced that the two were in a secret romantic relationship (and I’m still convinced that there’s something there). But then you find out that Lottie’s family worked for Franny’s for GENERATIONS and it makes it all a bit squicky, almost Stockholm-ish.

Just as with Emma, none of their motives were clear. Why reopen a camp that ruined your family? Why perpetuate a familial servitude and to do so with such fierce loyalty?

I neither liked nor loathed them.

 

 

Vivian

This is a young woman who is inherently manipulative in a way that makes her both dangerous and spectacular. To be able to pull so many strings in so many intricate ways…

She may have been the most interesting character and unfortunately the only bits of her that we get are through Emma’s memories.

 

 

 

The plot

 

The one thing that Sager does really well is keeping you guessing right up to the last few chapters. Every single time you think you have a piece of the puzzle figured out, he throws a wrench in that plan right away. The only thing that I was sure and actually right about, was that x-person wasn’t guilty, though if I’m honest, my faith was shaken for a bit.

 

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Me to these characters.

 

This book has a lot of little puzzles that work together towards solving the overall extremely tragic and confusing mystery. But, the more levels you uncover, the less you truly know. Then when you find out what really happened…why it happened? That’s just some twisted shit.

 

Perhaps the diary was just another lie.

 

This book was morally grey: characters, motives and actions alike.

 

My thoughts

I genuinely don’t like the way Sager portrays his female characters, for instance, Emma’s first period and the way it’s spoken about is discomforting, or the fact that Vivian and Miranda are blurred into one because they’re popular and sexually confident. No bueno.

Sager also seems to have an extreme hatred of camps (Final Girls and now this?! Cut them some slack, huh?). I’ve decided that camps are the worst invention and that I no longer ever want to play two truths and a lie.

 

“Right before they left, I said something. Something I regret. Somthing that’s haunted me ever since.”

What I liked:

I was invested all the way through this book. Emma’s obsession became mine, even if it didn’t make sense.

The back and forth between the stories, which I had enjoyed in Final Girls, proves to be equally as captivating.

This book was a mind trip, where nothing was clear, and almost every theory that Emma came up with was wrong. So. Convoluted. So many accusations that were logical at the time but didn’t pan out when it was all said and done. Her hallucinations also meant that you couldn’t trust anything that she was seeing, hearing or remembering.

 

————————

 

Characters: 3. All of these characters have some serious issues, all of them are hiding something, and none of them made me want to side with them.

Mystery: 4. What. The. Hell. Is. Happening. Here?!

Thrill/Horror: 3.5. Disturbing, for sure. But not anything that would leave me panicky or unable to sleep.

Plot/Reveals: 4. Well…I did not expect it to turn out quite the way that it did.

 

 


TL;DR: If you’re in it purely for plot and the mystery of it all, then this one is worth your time. If you can’t look beyond the toxic female relationships, this one might not be for you.

 

 

Amazon: 4.5

Goodreads: 4.14

My rating: 3.6 not too shabby stars.

 

 

See you soon

Dee ^_^

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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