Jul 27

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

The-Marriage-Pact-ReviewI got a free ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this book from NetGalley, when I was looking to read a good mystery/thriller, so it was a perfect fit, or so it seemed at the time. But now that I have read this book, I have mixed feelings towards it.

The plot of this book revolves around a newly married couple – Alice & Jake, who receive a rather intriguing wedding present, which is basically a membership to a mysterious and exclusive society of like-minded people, known as The Pact. However, whether it’s a harmless club or a dangerous cult, is for the reader to find out.

The objective of The Pact seems to be pretty clear, and even noble – to strengthen and foster the institution of marriage. And to ensure this objective is met, they have rules, which I have to admit, also seem to be well intentioned – always pick your spouse’s call, give your spouse a thoughtful gift every month, take quarterly trips together etc. However, things get very tricky, and dangerous even, when one or both partners fail to abide by the rules of The Pact.

Oh and did I mention, that membership in The Pact is a one-way ticket? There is no way out. Absolutely none.

The Marriage Pact – Review

Before I even begin with my review, there is one thing I must admit (in-spite of my mixed feelings towards the book) – The Marriage Pact is a total page-turner. Once I started reading this book, I simply could not stop. Also, with the short, evenly paced chapters, it was a relatively quick and easy read. Before I knew it, I had a hundred different theories, I was procrastinating chores, and cutting on sleep to race through this book.

Which is also possibly why the grand finale left me disappointed. No, actually, that’s not entirely true. Yes, I had big expectations, but the climax would have been a let down either way. After all that amazing build up, I was expecting something which would blow my mind, but instead my dominant thought was – wasted potential.

This story could have wrapped in so many different ways, so many amazing ways, and yet the author eventually led it in a very mediocre, very predictable direction, bringing the story to a point where the concluding sequence could have gone one of two ways, but by then all was lost anyway, ’cause the choice was really between Option #1 = WTH! and Option#2 = Whatever! Sigh.

Rating: 2.5 (Maybe 3) Stars

All the stars are for the first 75%-80% of the book, ’cause it was an experience I truly enjoyed. However, I would only recommend this book to folks who are obsessed with the genre of psychological suspense, and would enjoy the ride no matter how it all wrapped up. Others, I believe, can skip this one.

Links: The Marriage Pact (Amazon)

That’s all from my end folks. I would love to hear from you guys. Have you read The Marriage Pact? What do you look for in a book, especially in a mystery/thriller? Is the build up and the experience more important than the grand reveal or conclusion? Or is the grand reveal critical to your opinion of the book? For me, I need both, but if I had to pick one, I would pick a reveal that blows my mind.

A book that comes to mind is The Girl on The Train (I have reviewed the movie too). The build up was awesome, but only in hindsight. While I was reading it, it was kind of repetitive at places. At-least that’s what I felt back then. But the climax was pretty amazing. 


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  1. What a novel and intriguing plot… my interest is certainly piqued. But you mention about the disappointing climax… now that’s something I hate after a great build-up. Somehow, I feel cheated if the ending is not satisfying. 😐

  2. The climax is important, very important in a thriller, because no matter how good a book is, a regular reader, and I mean someone who isn’t looking to review it, will probably remember the last bit the most – the fact that it was such a mild end – it has to end in something spectacular to make the thriller a good one. Or so I think. I like the premise of the book – would have liked to read it.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Am I doing it right?My Profile

    • My point exactly. The end leaves a lasting impact, and especially in the case of a mystery/thriller, once I finish the book, I view the build up in context of the end.

      In this particular case, yes, the build up was awesome, when I was reading it, but it was mostly because I was searching for hidden clues, and there were parts that I thought were foreshadowing, but all of that amounted to nothing. Absolutely nothing.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…The Marriage Pact by Michelle RichmondMy Profile

  3. The plot is intriguing. I like the way you have described the writing. I would love to read something like that which will keep me awake at night. But the end matters a lot. I remember when I read Da Vinci Code, I was pacing through the pages. But the ending is quite damp there. Same for Angels and Demons and then I gave up reading Dan Brown. Hope this author will not go that way.

  4. I have requested the book from NetGalley in spite of the ending that disappointed you. I liked the premise and hope to read it soon. Liked the crisp review Shantala.

  5. The ending needs to satisfy. If it doesn’t do that, the book does not leave a good impression, irrespective of its other qualities.

  6. I am quite a fan of your reviews as I find you very impartial in your review. Your matter of fact detailing of the plot n characters present a true picture to me. Moreover your review is never ‘boring’ or ‘patronising’…. Comes across as honest and true.

  7. The plot sounds so very interesting. Is there a mystery involved here?

    I’ve read books with awesome buildup but lame endings. Always makes me think of my own way of ending the story.
    Soumya recently posted…Orange Is The New BlackMy Profile

    • In that case, you would find it interesting to chart your own end with this one, because trust me, it needs a better one.
      And yes, I guess you can call it a mystery, but there is not one big mystery to solve, it’s more like figuring out a complicated puzzle. Psychological suspense/intrigue is possibly the best way to describe this book.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…The Marriage Pact by Michelle RichmondMy Profile

  8. For me too, the reveal at the end is what makes a book.Girl on the Train is a good example. I have her latest on my Kindle. Yet to start.

    I’ve heard largely negative things about The Marriage Pact. It’s been coming up a lot on my GR TL (so much so that I know some of the conditions in the pact without even having to read the book) and while some do mention that it’s a page turner, most of them were quite disappointed by it. But the whole bit about dangerous consequences if you don’t follow the rules makes me feel there’s another book with a similar plot. I can’t recollect which one..
    Sreesha recently posted…Don’t Stop SpeakingMy Profile

    • Yes, for me as well. The reveal is important. Especially in a mystery/thriller. Because once you finish the book, you look at the build up in context of the end. In this case, the build up was awesome when I was looking for hidden clues, and expected some parts to be foreshadowing, but it all seemed pointless rambling, when it did not lead anywhere. The challenge is in dropping those clues, yet making them invisible, and then doing the grand reveal while tying all the loose ends. But there was none of that here.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…The Marriage Pact by Michelle RichmondMy Profile

  9. For some reason this reminds me of Eyes Wide Open( Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) they were in some sort of a cult!

    But, yes sounds like a good read. I’m curious to know what could this pact be about 🙂

  10. Hi Shantala, thanks for you honest review. I don’t think I’ll read this one simply b/c I’m kind over the psychological thrillers for now. I really dislike when the ending disappoints. I don’t expect perfection but geez, give me something, right?

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