Crosstalk by Connie Willis

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When I stumbled across this book in Waterstones I couldn’t wait to throw my money at the bookseller and get home to get stuck into it. The premise, a scifi rom com in which a couple undergo a revolutionary operation which will mentally and emotionally connect them, massively appealed to me. I love reading sci fi and Nora Ephron, Queen of rom coms, is my hero.

Unfortunately, within 100 pages of starting I was flagging and I felt like the blurb had kinda mis-sold the book to me. I was expecting light hearted mishaps, maybe a bit of mild peril where our leading couple got into a bit of mischief and then got home safely in time for dinner and Netflix in front of the tv. Ya know, normal rom com stuff. It soon became clear that this book wasn’t actually about that couple at all and this is where my issues with the book began.

The characterisation was completely unbelievable. Briddey, our leading lady, switched from being aloof and stuck up and hating the creepy guy at work to falling in love with him and not being able to take her hands off him practically overnight for no other reason than “he made her feel safe.” Sure, this is familiar rom com territory but it has to be written with some nuance. You can’t just introduce two characters as being one thing and then completely flip reverse it without laying groundwork.

I also did not enjoy Maeve as a character. A precocious 9 year old is never a character I want to see popping up in an adult book. Always annoying, never charming and amusing. If she had been a teenager her part in the plot would have at least made sense, but alas.

My overall annoyance with this book is the length. At 500 pages it’s by no means the longest book I’ve ever read but at times I felt like it was never going to end. Too much talking and not enough action, the editing process for this book should have cut it by half. At times I was shouting “skip to the point” as I tried to skim read through pages of extraneous details to get to the end of the story.

I’m really disappointed that a book I was so looking forward to turned out to be my least enjoyed read of the year so far. I found Crosstalk to be overly lengthy, with too much dialogue, weak unlikeable characters and obvious plot points that were maddeningly ignored until the very end and revealed as if the reader was a prize idiot and hadn’t yet worked it out.

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