Review of The White City by Karolina Ramqvist

Rating: 2.5/5

Recommend: Possibly


I received a copy of The White City from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Karin is used to living an exciting life of luxury. But all that changes when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her alone with a new baby. When her friends and so-called family turn their backs on Karin, she is forced to struggle through the disconnected phone lines, cut power, and desperation that follows her husband’s death and an abrupt loss of virtually all funds.

I want to preface this by saying that, despite my low rating, I do think this was a well-written book and it definitely wasn’t bad by any means. There are a lot of positive aspects of this book, and another reader might give The White City 4 or even 5 stars. Part of the low rating has to do with my own preferences.

This book was described as a psychological thriller. Now, when I think of psychological thrillers, I think of something full of suspense and excitement, with twists and turns that create an air of mystery. If that’s what you’re looking for, The White City isn’t necessarily the book for that. This book is heavy on the psychological, but low on the actual thriller part.

Very little actually happens in this book. Most of the time is spent with Karin wondering how she is going to survive on her own and feeling generally hopeless, with occasional feelings of bitterness directed toward the people she thought would have her back. While I completely understood why she was feeling the way she was, I found myself feeling bored with what seemed like a repetition of the same thoughts over and over again.

While some parts of The White City felt like they dragged on and on, others went by way too fast, leaving me wondering if pages of my book had somehow gone missing. There were some very abrupt transitions where I had to go back and reread the previous few pages in a vain attempt to connect the scenes. I usually got the general idea, but those jumps made it even harder to stay connected to the story.

Ramqvist is a wonderful writer though. Her prose was gorgeous. I found myself rereading some of her lines just because I loved how they sounded so much. For that reason, I might even go up to 3 stars. But the great prose was not enough to make up for everything else.

Even with my low rating, I say that if you think this book sounds interesting, you should give it a read. I noticed there are a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings for The White City, so maybe it was just me.


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