Thank you to Readers First for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This hasn’t in anyway affected my opinion of the book.
What if a prank leads to murder?
When Freya arrives at her dream job with the city’s hottest start-up, she can’t wait to begin a new and exciting life, including dating her new colleague Jay. However, Nicole, Jay’s ex and fellow employee, seems intent on making her life a misery.
After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. The next morning, Nicole is found dead in her apartment . . .
Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone who is capable of murder – and could she be next?
‘But later, beneath her begging and protestations, one fact remained: while she never meant for her to die, she did want to hurt her, just a little.’
Deciding on a rating for ‘The Pact’ was harder than it generally is for me. Summing up my feelings was simple enough but picking a fair rating for them gave me pause. Why? Because when I was hooked this book felt amazing which makes me want to give it a high score. Yet I can only give it an average one because of the issues that I had with it which is rather frustrating.
Straight away I was interested in ‘The Pact’. It had a gripping opening and left me incredibly curious as to how the scene described could possibly have started out as a prank. The chapters were short but this added to the pace of the story, especially as most ended in such a way that left you wanting more. The writing was impressive, on the whole, and tackled some difficult topics quite well. The central characters mostly felt well developed, with snippets of their past getting shared over the course of the story. And the timeline was interesting with the investigation into Nicole’s death intertwining with scenes from Freya’s previous experiences of her at work. The bullying felt real and left me frustrated on the victim’s behalf due to the difficult position that she was in.
Despite the writing generally being very immersive and fast moving with well painted scenes I did find the dialogue a little awkward at times. Some of the conversations felt slightly unrealistic; especially when it came to Freya’s first meeting her housemates. Each of these encounters started with some rather personal subjects being shared and instant bonding which just didn’t feel real to me. In one case, sure, but not for all three. I think maybe I’d have gotten passed this a little better if we’d maybe got to see a few more scenes of these friendships developing but instead they just felt instant and unrealistic as a result.
These issues did lessen my enjoyment of the earlier half of the book but then something changed and I found myself gripped once more. I was convinced that, despite my earlier misgivings, I was going to end up loving the second half of the book. And I did… mostly. Up until the very end in fact which is why it pains me so much to give this book only three stars. The issues that I had concerning the ending, when paired with my earlier struggles, are too much to justify any higher a rating though.
A lot of the resolution to the story I was happy with. Most of the outcome felt believable and the characters convincing too. The epilogue ruined this feeling for me though. It’s not that I’m completely against what happened there; I’m not. I got the point of the revelation but it didn’t flow with the earlier events. Maybe I’d change my mind if I went back and re-read everything (which I am tempted to do at some point) but as it stands some earlier reactions to Nicole’s death didn’t add up once I’d reached the end.
Plus there were a few other things that are bothering me from slightly before the epilogue too. Such as how the killer was finally caught; it doesn’t feel right to me. Another character’s ending didn’t feel natural either; not when I think back and consider how different individuals reacted to them and when they appeared in the book. There are also two smaller things that I thought would be revealed at some point but weren’t. Firstly something that was never shared from a conversation between Freya and Jay; I’d assumed the actual context of his revelation was left vague for a later reveal, yet it never came. And then there’s Jess; what happened to her? You may not have met her but considering what was said I really felt that some answers were needed concerning her fate.
Anyway overall I did enjoy reading ‘The Pact’. There was a time in the first half when I started to feel a little fed up but then it quickly became incredibly gripping and left me wanting more. My issues concerning the ending are too much to overlook however. So on balance this turned out to be a fairly average read for me – something that is so frustrating considering how well written and gripping certain parts of the book were. I’d still be interested in reading more by the author however; her writing showed real promise and she did have a talent for throwing in a lot of unexpected twists.
Check out The Pact on Goodreads here.
Trigger Warnings:Sexual Harassment & Assault.
I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (I seriously feel the need to discuss some things about this one!) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.