Dark Eyes (Dark Eyes #1)
Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and shes just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She’ll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko—her dark-eyed father—finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally’s mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wally's had her own killer training, and she's hungry for justice.
All this to say: Close, Dark Eyes. Very close, but not quite.
In many ways, Dark Eyes is similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I think it is probably an apt comparison. Wallis Stoneman has a lot of the same qualities as Lisbeth Salander, and Richter’s plot is comparable to Larsson’s. Fans of of one book will enjoy the other, I think.
Where Dark Eyes failed was in its unputdownableness, or lack thereof. William Richter’s great “plot twist” was well…extremely predictible, and though the action got intense, Richter’s prose was never fully engaging. I think “heavy” is the word I’m looking for to describe the style Dark Eyes was written in—not “dense” or “dark”. Richter’s words settled to the bottom and created a layer of thoughts that were all too easy to push aside and forget. I think with a thriller like Dark Eyes, you need edgy, stacatto prose, not richly detailed prose.
But, as far as YA debuts go, I’m pretty impressed with William Richter and Dark Eyes. The story was good, and I was very much engaged throughout.
I was very satisfied, also, with the characters—Wallis, her mother, Tevin, the detectives—were superb. They were all very real and likeable, their stories and motivations intertwined perfectly, and, as a whole, Richter’s cast of characters seemed to be well-executed and thought out.
This is a good book for anyone who enjoys fast-paced mystery/thrillers and doesn’t mind a slightly juvenile take on that genre. Personally, I might have been slightly off-put by the more simplistic approach (shouldn’t have made the Dragon Tattoo comparison!), but Dark Eyes was hardly awful. I enjoyed reading it, and I’d read it again if given the chance.
Wallis Stoneman was born in Russia, but adopted by a wealthy American couple when she was young. Despite the privilege provided to her, she can’t shake the feeling that she just doesn’t belong in such an environment. Taking to the street, and now sixteen, Wally is sure to stick to close to the few friends she can trust, but when she accidentally stumbles upon a file which could finally allow her to discover the secrets of her past, she finds out that family does not always mean friend, and that some people are not afraid to destroy their own flesh and blood to satisfy greed and desire.
The Good - Touted as the young adult version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, this book should appeal to a wide audience, and the story itself is pretty unique for teen fiction, especially in this dystopian/paranormal/fantasy saturated environment. I thought the story flowed well enough, and the writing style was very typical for thrillers across the board, meaning that lovers of thrillers and adventures, in general, should be pretty pleased with Richter’s offering.
The Bad - The bottom line is, I don’t love thrillers. I like them, but I don’t love them. So while I thought this book was everything it promised to be, I just couldn’t get into it completely. I also don’t particularly enjoy third person or omniscient views, mainly because I hate shifting from one character to another. There is always one storyline in something like this which you enjoy much less than the others, and Dark Eyes was no different. I found myself skimming over the pages about Tiger and Klesko. Also, I couldn’t help thinking that Wally was rather bratty and her relationship with Tevin seemed unnecessary. Oh, and the closing action scenes were a bit too convenient if you ask me. But at least pretty much everything is explained.