My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time Taken To Read - 3 days
Blurb From Goodreads
A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
This is a whopping huge hardback, 503 pages long. The first thing I would say is go into this reading it as a new author rather than this is the Harry Potter writer as the content and writing couldn't be further apart. The story is based around a small town, Pagford, and follows the lives of many of the residents. Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly and the town is in shock, however his death leaves open a seat on the parish council and soon filling that becomes the main focus. The small town is ripped apart by this one event as the battle for the seat begins.
For me this story could have been two, one concentrating on the younger main characters and that of the adults and their interest in the council seat. There is a lot of swearing throughout and a number of issues covered including angst, secrets, emotions, violence, self harm, betrayal and underage sex to mention a few.
At some points I felt some of the issues could have been left out but were included to show this is an adult themed book and a far cry from her previous Harry Potter books. There also was more characters than at times I could keep up with (although once your in a few hundred pages you get a better feel for them). Because there is so many, I feel that the focus on some of them and their issues where brushed over or only briefly touched on. Had the book just been classed as a novel or some of the characters cut there could have been more substance given to others and made more of an impact on the reader and story.
That said I did enjoy the unraveling of the towns secrets and petty goings on, especially in the aftermath of the death of a young man. I can't say I loved any of the characters but I did like Krystal and would have loved to have had more focus on her. Despite having a foul mouth, loose moral and low self esteem with a bad attitude, her character had depth although only really shown when dealing with her younger sibling.
I felt the book was fairly slow going for a good part of it, the start kicks off quick with a death which is the catalyst for most of the following story, however come the end few chapters it went into overdrive and I didn't want to put the book down. The turnabout of events is rather shocking, especially as the book had been fairly paced throughout. If you enjoy small town scandal and don't mind cursing, underage sex and teenage angst you will enjoy this story. 3/5 for me, I would read J.K. Rowling again, I loved Harry Potter and although this is a different level altogether I still enjoyed the writing and story.