Home FeatureBook Reviews “Our Kind Of Cruelty” Will Have You Reading Through The Night

“Our Kind Of Cruelty” Will Have You Reading Through The Night

by Olivia Yayla

As of recently, there has only been one thing on my mind. You. Not you, the reader of this book review, but Netflix’s original series starring notorious sociopath and loverboy lady killer Joe Goldberg, “You”.

Maybe it was the way he spoke about Beck before he realized that she was just as human and imperfect as the women of his past. Or maybe it has something to do with his determination and sureness of his choice, a quality the majority of Montclair State University men sorely lack. But a hopeless romantic can only rewatch a show so many times before succumbing to its morbid delusions. As a result, I have been scouring bookshelves, used and new, in search of a story to curb that craving.

Alas, there it was. Wedged between a torn copy of “It Ends With Us” and a stained, intensely loved copy of “Fifty Shades Of Grey.” “Our Kind Of Cruelty” by Araminta Hall was a diamond hiding behind foggy zirconias, and though it didn’t scream “Life-changing read!” by the condition of its cover, I noticed it from the beginning of the aisle. I grabbed it, purchased it, savored it and now I am finally ready to boast about my new love.

There was something about 2018 and the public’s craze for male main characters with an insatiable appetite for the woman of their dreams. More importantly, for men who did not let anything stand in their way, whether it was a beating heart or fate itself. Araminta Hall, author of this week’s obsession, “Our Kind of Cruelty,” had the same idea, as this book was published a mere 4 months before Netflix released its rendition of the toxically delicious tale. And although no character can ever compete with the oddity that is Joe Goldberg, Mike Hayes might just give him a run for his money.

Mike, a hopeless romantic just like the writer of this review, knew that he met his soul mate the moment he set eyes on Verity Metcalf, also called V. They would play games, both with each other and on other people, anything to keep the energy alive in their relationship. The story begins with Mike explaining the terms of their game, Crave. The two would go out to a nightclub together, then separate once entered. She’d wait as bait until some sorry fool decided to pick her as prey, but that is when V would send Mike her signal. She would twirl and fidget with her eagle necklace pendant, which sent Mike over to her rescue to the plan they both orchestrated. Alluding to how we are all craving something, except V was willing to curb it.

Verity always knew what she wanted and trained Mike both physically and mentally to fit her ideal image of the Dream Man. He did so willingly by going to the gym, finding the perfect job and even buying V’s dream house. He did so even though she had been ignoring his emails and dodging his calls. He did so even with her upcoming wedding to her current fiancé. Mike has been properly trained by V. To him, he and V were still playing Crave, and though she has yet to fidget with her iconic eagle pendant, he is ready to come to her rescue at any given time.

This story is one that I can not explain too deeply, as the writing style leaks present-day into memories, truly making this book an all-night page-turner that has you questioning who the true monster is. Araminta Hall is a genius writer who leaves both everything and nothing to the imagination. Her ability to capture the essence of all characters through the perspective of an unreliable narrator has me wondering whether she is V and poor Mike is still pining somewhere in this world, as this story is so vivid it can not be fiction. Yet it is, and a mysterious, psychological thriller at that.

To end my praise for both Araminta Hall’s “Our Kind Of Cruelty” and Caroline Kepnes’s “You,” I would like to start a new trend. This year is the year of used books. 2024 should be filled with mystery novel grabs and blind book dates. I assure you that life will be infinitely more interesting, and you never know what, or who, you may fall in love with next. As always, read at your own peril.

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