The cover boasts “Deliciously sinister. It’s almost impossible not to be seduced” and for the first quarter of the book I’d agree; but sadly, three quarters of the book remains and my love affair with Catherine House soon went from seduction to boredom.
Ines, our protagonist, is a troubled girl with a past she is escaping from. She is accepted into Catherine House, a university with a legendary alumnus and more than a few quirks. One of which is that you give up your life for the three years and live onsite. Thomas’ novel is broken into sections that cover each of these years.
The opening of the novel is captivating, with the reader thrown headfirst into the story, but sadly I found it all went downhill from there. To be honest, this would have made an excellent short story; there’s just not enough going on to force a novel out of it.
There’s also a bit of a sci-fi attempt at a twist, which I found clunky and unbelievable. However, there were some lovely passages of writing, especially when describing some of the architecture and artworks, that did keep me engaged enough to finish the book. Sadly, finishing it felt a little like doing my homework, which is never a good sign.
As I often do when I have a less than glowing opinion of a book I go and read what other reviewers have had to say. In this case it seems you either love the book or loathe it. So for those considering giving this book at try, you really could like it, a lot. I just didn’t.