Book Review: The String Diaries*

image – Stephen Lloyd Jones
The String Diaries. A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A killer. The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore … until he comes face to face with a myth. For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run. But Hannah knows that if her daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations.
And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that.

My thoughts:
In this book we learn about the ‘hosszú életek’, a race of people who sort of have supernatural powers. There’s a lot of mention about it being Hungarian mythology, and that these beings weren’t really believed to exist. To begin with, we don’t really know much about them – just that Jakab is bad, and he mustn’t find Hannah! Now Hannah is our ‘main’ character here. In the present chapters we’re following Hannah, her husband and her daughter. They’re in trouble and trying to avoid Jakab for as long as possible.

The book was actually split into three different perspectives. We see Hannah in the present, we visit Oxford in the late 1970’s, and we go all the way back to Hungary in the 1800’s. The first two give us a view of different generations, and we see how the books were passed down. I have to say, my favourite ‘time’ in the story was in the 1970’s. I just really liked Charles and Nicole, and found their story really interesting. The chapters set in Hungary take us right to the beginning, and we discover the story of Jakab and how he came to be. I can’t remember exactly, but I would say that I was at least a quarter of the way through the book before the chapters set in Hungary began. This made Jakab a bit more of a mystery. When his chapters began, Jakab’s story was finally told.

The inclusion of the hosszú életek was great – I thought the whole concept of what they could do was fascinating. These chapters also showed us the race from a different view, and I guess you could say that the present humans view them a little differently because of one person. You guessed it, Jakab. His actions lead to the Eleni society forming – a group who dedicate their lives to getting rid of the hosszú életek. We don’t really learn too much about the Eleni, but we know enough to see how damaging they are.

My only real downside to this book is that the third quarter seemed to drag a little. I feel like it could have been a little shorter with some things left out. The first half was fascinating and gripping, and the ending was tense and unpredictable. Once the bulk of the storyline was out in the open, it seemed to slow down before we got to the end. It wasn’t enough to make me want to put the book down, but at times I did feel like it would never end!

Overall, I would say it’s a book worth reading.

My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.

*With thanks to Headline for sending me a copy to review.