Mini Review: Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling and Silkworm
I woke up and realised that I have never written any review for Robert Galbraith books yet, so I decided to just give it a go in one shot.
When it comes to J. K. Rowling writing in any other genre than fantasy, I found that many people are having difficulty in believing it. Perhaps they are traumatised by the darkness that is Casual Vacancy (as if real life is any less traumatising), or perhaps they simply just do not want to gamble. Because when a writer is really good at one genre, we tend to have this fear that they may not do as well in other things. Just remember Agatha Christie doing Mary Westmacott.
In the case of Rowling, I think the concern is completely baseless. In fact, it should have been the other way around. If you have read Harry Potter, then you should know that she has always have a great potential for writing crime fiction.
Always the meticulous one, you know how great she was in utilising Chekov’s gun and red herrings. The detail that you tend to miss always turn out to be the deciding factor in how the story builds up to an end. She also has this thing with combining suspense and human emotions; how the relations between the two create an impact in form of a firework. Pretty and ‘awww’ to look at, but the noise is not very flattering.
Both Robert Galbraith books are a showcase of all these amazing things. It was like, you may have seen it in Harry Potter before, but this time you can really indulge in it.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is a good start. Cormoran Strike was born screaming, a fully formed figure inside your head with a full back story and a character. Even more interesting that he was a wounded war veteran and a difable. His assistant, Robin Ellacott, was more predictable though. A pretty blonde bombshell, I wish my brain had not been washed by the media so much into thinking that pretty girls were less valuable when it comes to thinking and doing action. I have accustomed to thinking that she would be more valuable if she had bushy hair and big teeth like Hermione did. I was wrong; pretty girls should be able to be protrayed as deep and interesting too. That is just one glimpse of Rowling’s penchant for feminism and equality. There would be more in the second book.
Silkworm is where it all burst out. Almost literally. This is the time when Rowling went all out with the violence and gore, I actually felt like I was reading Thomas Harris. Yes, Hannibal Lecter kind of gory, and if you cannot stand that, then consider this a trigger warning. This is also the stage where the characters had developed; Strike had learnt to get over his ex, and he had finally grow a team. A proper set of supporting characters that the leading man can turn to in times of crisis. Robin too had finally get some certain skills attached to her beauty; her communication skills and her driving skills.
In the end, all I can say is that give this a try. I know it is hard to not compare the series to Harry Potter; I may have done it without realising. But this another set of long journeys that you might not want to miss.
The Cuckoo’s Calling: 4 out of 5
Silkworm: 4 out of 5