Book Review

Magpie

Magpie

  • Author: Elizabeth Day 
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2022
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: rape, violence, blood, infertility

Rating: 5 out of 5.

She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

Marisa and Jake are a perfect couple. And Kate, their new lodger, is the perfect roommate—and not just because her rent payments will give them the income they need to start trying for the baby of their dreams.

Except no one is truly perfect. Sure, Kate seems to take a particular interest in their private lives, but Marisa brushes off her concerns, knowing that soon the roommate will be gone and it will be just Marisa, Jake, and their baby.

But when Kate’s boundary pushing blossoms into an all-out obsession, Marisa is forced to ask: Who is this woman? And why does she seem to know everything about them?

In her quest to find out who Kate really is, Marisa risks destroying everything she’s worked so hard for—her perfect romance, her perfect family, and her perfect self. Because Marisa knows better than anyone: some secrets should stay buried forever.

This book arrived as a surprise from Simon and Schuster, and it sounded exactly like my type of book. I adore the kind of stories where nothing is what it seems to be, and you can’t really trust what you’re reading. It keeps me on my toes, always trying to figure out what the truth is.

At the beginning, we’re introduced to Marisa. And she isn’t exactly the type of person that is easy to empathize with. To be blunt, she isn’t a likable character, and it only gets worse the more I read. It’s hard to enjoy a book with an unlikable narrator, but as we get more insight into Marisa’s past and I got to understand her a bit better, my feelings toward her changed. She seemed like the kind of woman who gets lost in a man, and relies on him for so much. 

“She felt so lucky then, so blissfully content to be with a man who understood the safety she wanted before she understood it herself. If Marisa could have stopped time right there, she would have.”

As her pregnancy progresses, things change. Not just the situation in her house, where having a roommate throws off the balance of her carefully curated world, but in her feelings about the relationship. Rather than feeling more secure and comfortable, she’s growing less comfortable and more insecure. 

“She can see the idea of himself as a father expanding to fill all the available space in his mind. There is no room left for her. Marisa has become a vessel. It is her worst fear: that, once she’s had their baby, she will become expendable.”

Part two of the book completely flips the script, and allows us to see the whole situation from a different perspective. I can’t really talk much about this without giving away spoilers, so let me just tell you that this is where it’s clear that nothing is what it appears. We get to see things from the other side, and Marisa becomes almost a different character. I got even more interested in the story once I got to this part, and read this in just two sittings. RIP to anything on my to-do list from today!

“But for all her hippieish appearance and unbrushed hair and baggy artists’ overalls, Marisa could be intimidating. It wasn’t that she was scary, exactly. It was more that you could never predict what she was thinking or how she would react.”

While there were only a few gasps, they were REALLY GOOD ONES. I couldn’t stop reading, and the book was super fast reading. There was a lot of action and character development, and even the side characters were well-rendered. Everyone involved played a role in advancing the story, and it was done incredibly well. 

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 3

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