Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Mystery, Classics
VERY BIG Spoilers in white. Highlight to read.
Blurb: (from goodreads) First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
Me: This is the first time I have read anything of Christie's. I am now also a firm believer that she is a genius.
WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED. THAT WAS NOT A BOOK. THAT WAS A MANIPULATING, MIND-BOGGLING, PIECE OF GENIUS.
How do you kill 10 people, one by one, and not reveal who the murderer is? How can an author do this? I am amazed. The subtle suspicion of everyone that was on the island, but also the way that I felt that I could never even suspect who it was was mind-blowing. The second I would have made up my mind on who to keep an eye on, something would happen that would make me change my mind.
The plot itself was stellar. Based on a poem all of the people on the island found in their rooms:
"Ten little soldier boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little soldier boys stayed up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon; One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little soldier boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little soldier boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little soldier boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three
Three little soldier boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two
Two little soldier boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little soldier boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none."
The island is "SOLDIER island", every single time someone is murdered, a soldier toy figure is removed from the table, and every person dies in a way similar to the poem. For example, the first one chokes on a drink and dies.
But what really added to it, was the characters. All ten of the characters were described extremely well, and Christie took time to write from each of their POVs. They each had their suspicions set on different people, they were all very wary of each other, the way that they acted was incredibly human, yet very...unnaturally odd.
They also had all been accused in the beginning of the book of crimes that they were never found truly guilty of. I found that fascinating. Agatha Christie explores the concept of guilt, and can another human ever really confirm that someone has done something? Can humans ever know justice and what its true meaning is? And how, when put in extraordinary situations, will these guilty people react?
Aside from all of that, though, as a mystery novel, it was phenomenal. It was incredibly suspenseful and almost chilling throughout the book. (Being a sissy, I couldn't read it at night, even though it wasn't "scary") I could not tell at all who the murderer was and the entire time I thought the whole thing was bizarre...
THE ENDING. It made everything clear. It blew my mind. I had not seen that coming in any way shape or form. But it made sense, and that was what was really awesome. The fact that Christie could weave a story like that together was...GENIUS.
SPOILER ALERT: JUDGE WARGRAVE????!!!!! OMG. BECAUSE HE WANTED TO SEE JUSTICE DONE. HOW. HOW. IT MAKES SENSE BUT IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. AGGGHHH.
Overall: An AMAZING thriller that, and I will quote my friend Claire from Cover to Cover, "EVERYONE MUST READ. EVERYONE."
Rating: It shames me I'm even trying to rate this. Of course it BEAT MY SCALE!