Saturday, October 8, 2016

COMPARISON: In a Dark, Dark Wood vs. The Woman in Cabin 10

Please note:  I'm not posting any specific spoilers below, but if you want to go into the books mostly blind, you should probably not read this post.

Rarely do I read multiple works by the same author very close together unless they are part of a series, but I did pick up both In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware this fall.  In a Dark, Dark Wood (IDDW) was her 2015 debut novel, and The Woman in Cabin 10 (WC10) was released this past summer.
Slightly creepy mystery/thriller during a bachelorette party weekend

Locked room style mystery onboard a cruise ship


  • Both books feature potentially unreliable female narrators with some secrets and some mental health issues (more so in WC10).  Lee/Nora from IDDW suffers from amnesia with regard to a crucial point, and Lo from WC10 is a functional alcoholic.

  • Both involve a fairly random group of characters gathered in a unusual and isolated setting: a rural house made of glass (IDDW) and a small luxury cruise ship (WC10).
  • The writing flows well in both and they are quick reads.
  • There are more suspects and a different twist in WC10.  This is both good and bad.  The characters are better developed by far in IDDW, but unfortunately, that makes the final ending more obvious.  I hope Ware will write a third novel and find a balance somewhere in between the two.
  • Lo's occupation (travel magazine writer) is significantly better developed that Nora's.  Nora is supposed to be a crime fiction writer, but Ware does not develop her occupation in any way whatsoever, which is a completely missed opportunity in my opinion.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed both books and gave The Woman in Cabin 10 a 4 out 5 stars and In a Dark, Dark Wood 3.75 out of 5 stars.  I look forward to more from this author because I feel she has tremendous potential.

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