Book Review: What Beauty There Is – Cory Anderson

Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 6th, 2021

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Blog Tour


For those who caught my stop on the blog tour for this book, you’ll know that at the time of posting I hadn’t actually finished the whole book. Well, now I have, so I thought best to provide a sort of ‘second half’ review.

Sometimes, the second half of the book can be the most important. When I start a book, I kind of go in expecting it to be a 3 Star. Essentially, my rating moves up or down from there. And I’ve had books that are borderline throughout end up getting bumped up or down based purely on the ending.

And I love a book where you can’t quite tell what sort of ending it’s going to have. A standalone, for example, isn’t going to have a cliff-hanger. One of my favourite things about Horror is it can end up with everyone dead, or everyone sort of fine while the protagonist has been through hell, or everyone else dead while the protagonist has to come to terms with events or continue to fight on etc etc. On the flipside, Romance can be comforting because you know the ending is going to be HEA or HFN.

What Beauty There Is is more of a thriller, and though I have read some thrillers, I don’t know a whole lot about the ending-conventions in that genre. Still, in the few I’ve read I’ve normally had some sort of surprise happen towards the end of the book, if not with the full ending itself.

Unfortunately, I found the ending of this book to be a little predictable. There was little there to make me feel like the overall journey had been a satisfying one. The writing is excellent. The first half of the book – as I said in my previous review – is raw and heart breaking, and really gets you into the heads of these characters.

But the ending felt, unfortunately, like it dragged out a bit too long, and once the climax hit, it felt like everything was wrapped up a little too neatly. Yes, it’s sad, because a book like this couldn’t have a climax without being sad. When I read a book I love, I feel like I don’t want to leave the characters. I want to stay with them, in their world, and see how things really turn out. I didn’t feel that with this.

The writing is both beautiful and brutal, and it’s Anderson’s use of language that keeps the reader fully engaged. With a bit of a stronger, less predictable ending, one that didn’t drag out so long, the book could have been more unique and powerful.

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