*This book was supplied to me by AudiobookReviewer.com. This review was originally published on ABR’s website.*
The Miniaturist is the first book ever to keep me guessing almost 100% of the time. I literally had no idea where it was going and absolutely had to continue listening just to find out. Part of this is due to the fact that the storyline is very unpredictable, although it doesn’t seem like it will be when the book first starts out. Not only is it unpredictable in terms of what will happen next but also where the book is going overall. If that’s not done properly, this can be very disconcerting and annoying because the reader can feel lost, but it was done in a way that made me love the book and respect the author.
There are many subplots to this book, some more prevalent than others. The intricacies are part of what keeps the reader guessing, but also part of what makes this book both fascinating and realistic; nothing ever affects just one person. I also really appreciated how well the author brought the reader along for the journey with the main character, Nella. It felt as if we grew with her, as if the secrets she discovered were secrets we discovered ourselves. The effect of all this is that not only do we feel Nella has done a lot of growing and maturing by the end of the book, but we also feel we have grown with her. That is something special in a book.
The Miniaturist doesn’t have a perfect rating for me because (1) there were a couple of details that suspended belief a bit but not overwhelmingly so, and (2) there was a part about 3/4 through the book where the author seemed like she was going to turn everything right on its back and shock the reader, but instead she just opted out of it, which made the direction it ended up taking seem slightly lame, as if we were gypped out of a mind-bending read and given something slightly easier. Had that not happened, I would not have been disappointed, so it was an unfortunate choice in the writing.
The narrator, Davina Porter, is one of my all-time favorite audiobook narrators, and she doesn’t disappoint. Her acting is superb, her voices varied and appropriate to the personality of each character, and pronunciation always understandable. I can never get over how listening to a book she narrates is like watching a movie; she really acts all the emotions out, she doesn’t just read them. It’s more of an experience than just a book.