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'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbing 'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic. When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.


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'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbing 'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air. Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic. When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping. Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.

30 review for The Snakes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    "I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins." Hello friends, and thank you for joining me on what might be the strangest reading journey I've embarked on yet. Usually, if I edit a star rating on one of my reviews, I'm typically knocking it down a peg because, the more I've thought on it, the more I decided I had let the initial high of the book cloud my unbiased judgement. I can't say for sure, but this might be the first time I've actually bumped a review up an entire star after careful thoug "I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins." Hello friends, and thank you for joining me on what might be the strangest reading journey I've embarked on yet. Usually, if I edit a star rating on one of my reviews, I'm typically knocking it down a peg because, the more I've thought on it, the more I decided I had let the initial high of the book cloud my unbiased judgement. I can't say for sure, but this might be the first time I've actually bumped a review up an entire star after careful thought and consideration. If you've missed the drama, which is likely if you aren't following my Instagram page, let me briefly summarize below. A week or so ago I read an article via The Guardian with a review of The Snakes that discussed a controversial ending that was causing reviewers to feel widely divided over the entirety of this novel. Naturally, I decided to clear off every other TBR book and pick this up immediately, which is funny due to the fact that I had almost written this one off completely due to the overall low GR average rating. However, if you know me you know that I like to buck the trend and a low average can't keep me away from a book, because the more you tell me not to read it, the more I want to start it right now. I decided to take one for the US team, and to my surprise, it was completely unputdownable. Few books have captured my attention and crawled so deeply into my brain this year as The Snakes did, and even though this novel is the slowest of burns, I couldn't read it fast enough. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about when I could ditch everyone in my house and get back to reading it. AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW that the ending, the very reason why I picked this book up, was the most disappointing aspect for me. I gave a little pre-review on my Instagram last night, stating the above facts, and the discussion surrounding this novel blew up! So many readers stated that they had all but written off this book, but now were so intrigued that they were planning on moving it up the TBR just because the suspense was thrilling them! See what I did there? 😏 I'm glad I chose to sit on my full review and process my thoughts on this one a bit longer, because I have not stopped thinking about these characters since finishing the book. This might be a perfect example of placing my expectations in a state too lofty to achieve; I read an article and based my thought pattern in a way that the book doesn't ACTUALLY give an impression of, so that's on me, and the more I think about it, the more I'm ok with the ending. So what is this book about do you ask? The Snakes is a slow burning character study of a deeply dysfunctional family who's native tongue is wealth beyond all reason. I cannot emphasize the slow burn part enough; while I know that I flew through it in record time for a meaty 450 page literary crime fiction novel, I can imagine a majority of people going in would picture something a bit more speedy. There is essentially minimal-to-no plot progression here, and very little "action" takes place, but the dark beauty of this story is watching the characters slowly evolve into entirely different people, or perhaps come into the people they have been all along. There are a few literal snakes in this story, but they are minimal and take a backseat to the truly dangerous human snakes featured. There is a bit of a mystery here, but I wouldn't commit to reading this book if that's all you're looking for, as the murder mystery really does take back burner to the character study that is provided. There are some really dark themes explored here, and readers should be warned that the narrative includes discussions and scenes featuring pedophilia, incest, child abuse, graphic violence, and much more. I really don't want to dive too much into what else happens, but I have a feeling that this is one of those few books that will remain memorable for years to come. I can only imagine how I'll be a black sheep reader of this one, so don't feel like you have to come at me if you hate this book, because I completely respect your decision and/or your thoughts on the ending, but perhaps this is the type of book that I needed to find to break me out of the dime-a-dozen psychological thrillers that seem to be plaguing the market today. If, like me, you found this book calling your name regardless of the average rating, give it a try! You never know what books may be written just for you. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Sadie Jones mirrors a number of contemporary issues in this hugely engaging novel of family, marriage and the insidious corruption and deadly damage that the love of money wreaks. Beatrice Temple is a committed psychotherapist, married to the mixed race Dan, living a modest life in a small flat in London, struggling to make ends meet. Dan has been unable to establish a career as an artist, working in a soul destroying occupation as a estate agent which he can no longer bear as he finds himself q Sadie Jones mirrors a number of contemporary issues in this hugely engaging novel of family, marriage and the insidious corruption and deadly damage that the love of money wreaks. Beatrice Temple is a committed psychotherapist, married to the mixed race Dan, living a modest life in a small flat in London, struggling to make ends meet. Dan has been unable to establish a career as an artist, working in a soul destroying occupation as a estate agent which he can no longer bear as he finds himself quitting. Dan and Beatrice rent out the flat and take off for a European tour in their ramshackle car for 3 months. In France they visit Bea's brother, Alex, a drop out, with mental health and addiction issues, running a hotel in Burgundy. They find a dilapidated hotel that has never taken guests, and a frenetic and messed up Alex with a nest of snakes in the building. Bea is ostracised from her parents, but loves Alex, a person she has been unable to save from familial abuse around which a deafening silence has been maintained. To Bea's discomfort, her parents arrive at Alex's hotel, and she and Dan make the fateful decision to stay, unaware of how their proximity to the family is to test their marriage, and precipitate tragedy and horror in its wake. Dan was aware Bea's family was wealthy, but respected her decision not to take any money from them, but he failed to appreciate just how rich they are until he hears of the private jet, recently sold. He feels short changed and misled by Bea, their life and his personal frustrations could have been eased so easily by her. Bea has learnt the hard way to develop an immunity to the lure and siren call of riches but Dan proves to be more susceptible, understandable given he grew up in poverty. Bea's father, Griff, is a disgraced and scandal ridden powerful billionaire, a self centred man with a swaggering sense of entitlement, a need for control, and dismissive of public services and the poor. Bea feels a hardness of heart when it comes to her mother, Liv, although Dan does not know why as Bea has never been forthcoming about the dark heart of her family. Sadie Jones touches on important and epic issues in our contemporary world, the massive and growing gap between the haves and those living and sinking in their lives of penury and precariousness, the huge rise of corporations and billionaires refusing to pay their taxes, and the consequent fissures in the concept of a decent society as public services are slashed. Jones creates the decidedly human and authentic characters that illustrate her themes, and I appreciated the interspersed and metaphorical motif of the snakes, where the actual snakes are harmless. I loved the way she weaves in the seven deadly sins, the themes of the rooms in Alex's hotel. I found the ending dispiriting but nevertheless found the novel utterly gripping and thought provoking. I am not sure how many readers will connect with this novel, but I would like to recommend it highly. Many thanks to Random House Vintage.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    ’We were a family and now we’re not any more. We’re the wrong number. It’s all wrong. I can’t cry. I can’t.’’‘ The times we live in are uncertain, turbulent, obscure. Financial insecurity, fear caused by leaders who dream of generating the Third World War, Nazi and Soviet sympathizers in power, presidents who believe themselves to be modern sultans, members leaving the Union they fought hard to form. Utter degradation of every basic human value, absence of feelings, absence of respect. This is o ’We were a family and now we’re not any more. We’re the wrong number. It’s all wrong. I can’t cry. I can’t.’’‘ The times we live in are uncertain, turbulent, obscure. Financial insecurity, fear caused by leaders who dream of generating the Third World War, Nazi and Soviet sympathizers in power, presidents who believe themselves to be modern sultans, members leaving the Union they fought hard to form. Utter degradation of every basic human value, absence of feelings, absence of respect. This is our world today. This is the world that seems to suffocate Bea and Dan, motivating them to find some form of escape. The young Londoners travel to France to aid Alex, Bea’s brother, with his ‘’duty’’ in an almost run-down hotel. Little do they know… One needs to tread carefully because almost 50% of the novel is set upon a trap of spoilers. The themes and the consequences of the characters’ choices are irreversibly linked throughout the story. To begin with, the first chapter is striking. It immediately attracted my attention, it was the perfect introduction. In Part One, I felt that the motif was inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins, a prominent decoration in the hotel with no guests. A hotel whose only occupants are dust and snakes. The reptiles can be heard during the night, an ominous sound, a threat that cannot be seen, unpredictable and deadly. A symbol of suspicion and treachery, the fragility of a marital relationship and the influence of the parents and the social background. What I perceived to be a prominent question was the significance of money and social influence as our goals in life. What about those of us who believe that there are values more important and crucial than material wealth? Are we weak? Are we lacking in ambition? We hardly care. This is who we are. This fight is successfully depicted in the clash between Bea, an extremely well-written protagonist, and Griff, her father, one of the most horrible characters, a truly despicable man. Despite the undoubtedly sensual, dark prose, there were a few problems that became noticeable soon. On a personal level, I was almost offended by the writer’s nihilistic and dismissive views on religion. As someone who believes, I felt Jones included a derogatory monologue for the sake of serving a ‘’modernity’’ that calls for the rejection of anything that has to do with spirituality. Yes, by all mean, do worship your new mobile phones. They’re so important...What logic is there? Am I not educated? Am a less adequate reader because I am a Christian? This is utter bullshit. Next time, place a special sticker on the cover, stating ‘’I don’t want my books to be read by Christians.’’ And as a reminder, the Seven Deadly Sins weren’t created by themselves, Sadie Jones. I couldn’t understand what was the need for the emphasis on Bea’s presumably less- than- perfect external appearance. It didn’t feel ‘’literary’’ but a cliché derived from a boring thriller. There was too much swearing and, frankly, the book was too long. 100 pages less would have been ideal with better-placed dialogue and a more careful linking of the themes. I believed I was about to read a literary social commentary. At worst, a literary thriller. I was extremely attracted to it and its dark tone. And then, it became a rich family soap-opera, complete with the subjectively neglected husband trope and I grew cold. And bored. I am not interested in parties, estates, and inheritances. However, Part Four was very good. A number of subplots remained unresolved but the ending was astonishing. Absolutely shocking. You’ll have to read it to experience how powerful it is. So, I admit I am conflicted about the rating. With the exception of Part Three, which was pretty bad, this is a hypnotizing novel. It lures you and it’s difficult to detach yourself even though you know you won’t end up loving it completely. I think it will be one of the most talked-about novels of the year and despite the issues I faced, it has stayed with me. This speaks for itself. I feel that 4 stars is a fair rating. Many thanks to Random House UK and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Well, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where my opinion changed so dramatically from beginning to end as this one. In the beginning, I couldn’t relate to the characters and I found the plot boring. I was ready to set it aside. But I persevered and I’m glad I did. By the end, I was totally engrossed. Bea and Dan, a young couple, recently married, decide to escape their lives and take off for a few months through France. They already seem to be having quite a few problems for newlyweds. Dan hat Well, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where my opinion changed so dramatically from beginning to end as this one. In the beginning, I couldn’t relate to the characters and I found the plot boring. I was ready to set it aside. But I persevered and I’m glad I did. By the end, I was totally engrossed. Bea and Dan, a young couple, recently married, decide to escape their lives and take off for a few months through France. They already seem to be having quite a few problems for newlyweds. Dan hates his job and Bea is willing to take the trip just to appease him. Their first stop is a hotel her brother is supposedly running. Her brother, Alex, is a cliche - a Peter Pan who’s never grown up, a supposedly recovered addict, living off his parents. And then the parents, who suddenly show up… well, at least you understand why the children are so screwed up after seeing the parents. Bea is the child who turned her back on her parents’ money, her brother didn’t. And then there’s Dan, who didn’t come from money, who had no concept. “Before, Bea’s family money had been notational, he could forget it, but seeing them now, rich was all they were. Everything they did and everything they said radiated it.” There was an early twist I didn’t see coming and then the book becomes more of a mystery. Jones does a good job of projecting that sense of being kept in the dark, dealing with an unknown foreign police and judicial system. The book covers prejudice, entitlement, the morality of money, who gets to make the decisions in a marriage. After not initially liking either Bea or Dan, I appreciated that Jones then made me see both of their points of view. I could literally sympathize with both. The ending was perfect. Money is the root of all evil. And I was left wishing I could have seen ow the ending affected the father. My thanks to netgalley and HarperCollins for an advance copy of this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    It's a shame because 80% of "The Snakes" was an easy 5* for me and I fully expected that to be my rating and that I would write a wholly positive review. Sadly it's not to be but we'll start with the really good stuff. The Snakes is for the most part a beautifully complex and beautifully written family drama - following one family through a tragedy that rips the band aid off the many hidden truths in their past. It is thought provoking, melancholy, emotionally resonant and vaguely disconcerting t It's a shame because 80% of "The Snakes" was an easy 5* for me and I fully expected that to be my rating and that I would write a wholly positive review. Sadly it's not to be but we'll start with the really good stuff. The Snakes is for the most part a beautifully complex and beautifully written family drama - following one family through a tragedy that rips the band aid off the many hidden truths in their past. It is thought provoking, melancholy, emotionally resonant and vaguely disconcerting throughout. Money is the root of all evil is definitely a theme here as are familial relationships and the darkness they can hide. Sadie Jones builds her characters pitch perfectly, absorbing you into their lives and bringing you a gradual understanding of all their experience and motivations. The setting is wonderfully described, especially the dilapidated hotel with it's snakes in the attic and it's enveloped horrors. But then something changed. The last few chapters are just bizarre. The ending is a throwaway, an abrupt and terribly unsatisfactory (subjectively speaking) mish mash. Whilst I think I can see what the author intends I'm not actually sure - and I like to think of myself as at least vaguely intelligent. But it felt silly and pretentious if I'm honest and I do try to be - the reader is just left there to decide whether fate is appropriate. Or something. I didn't get it. Sadly it spoilt the whole thing for me - although I would point out that it is genuinely subjective and I feel sure that when more people read it there will be many that disagree with me. Anyway the upshot is I'm irrationally irritated that I invested myself heavily into this one only to have a metaphorical bucket of freezing water thrown over me at the finish line. Still, I guess this review serves as a recommendation anyway. That's the way it goes sometimes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    3.5 Stars I am not a fan of snakes, but love my horror and after catching a glimpse of this cool cover, I was drawn in....and fooled. So....for those of you who steer clear of traditional horror novels, have no fear here....not really.There are some snakes though....but mostly a treacherous humanoid variety. There's a creepy hotel I would not inhabit and a dysfunctional family with filthy rich, disgustingly hurtful parents....who have a horror of a secret.THE SNAKES is a slow burn and a dark tal 3.5 Stars I am not a fan of snakes, but love my horror and after catching a glimpse of this cool cover, I was drawn in....and fooled. So....for those of you who steer clear of traditional horror novels, have no fear here....not really.There are some snakes though....but mostly a treacherous humanoid variety. There's a creepy hotel I would not inhabit and a dysfunctional family with filthy rich, disgustingly hurtful parents....who have a horror of a secret.THE SNAKES is a slow burn and a dark tale with much tragedy where money is the root of most, but not all evil. ***Arc provided by HarperCollins Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for review***

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Bea and Dan have decided to leave London for a few months. They first travel to Burgundy to see Alex, Bea’s brother, at the hotel he runs. The scene is disturbing when they arrive. Alex is alone in the beaten up hotel; however, there is a nest of snakes in the attic. Alex and Bea’s parents, Liv and Griff, come to visit, whom Dan does not know because Bea has kept them apart. Liv and Griff are wealthy and kind, and Dan has no idea why Bea has not let them get to know each other. A tragedy happens Bea and Dan have decided to leave London for a few months. They first travel to Burgundy to see Alex, Bea’s brother, at the hotel he runs. The scene is disturbing when they arrive. Alex is alone in the beaten up hotel; however, there is a nest of snakes in the attic. Alex and Bea’s parents, Liv and Griff, come to visit, whom Dan does not know because Bea has kept them apart. Liv and Griff are wealthy and kind, and Dan has no idea why Bea has not let them get to know each other. A tragedy happens, and the family is laid bare for all it is with no pretense. And Bea is forced to face the truth. The Snakes is such an engaging and unusual mystery. It addresses several issues like family, marriage, and greed. Snakes make more than one appearance in a metaphorical way. The seven deadly sins also make an appearance. Snakes made me think and feel, and the tension kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. There’s lots to talk about here, for buddy reading and book clubs. I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.  A "wish for" that was granted. Snakes - they are reptiles.  Slithering and hissing, coldblooded and creepy.  Did you know there are warmblooded snakes, as well?  They look completely different, but are just as vile.  Yessssss, I'm talking about human snakes.  Poisonous, treacherous, apt to play serpentine games.  Does this brand of snake shed its skin?  If so, what lies beneath?  In a dilapidated hotel in France, there are nests of snakes i Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.  A "wish for" that was granted. Snakes - they are reptiles.  Slithering and hissing, coldblooded and creepy.  Did you know there are warmblooded snakes, as well?  They look completely different, but are just as vile.  Yessssss, I'm talking about human snakes.  Poisonous, treacherous, apt to play serpentine games.  Does this brand of snake shed its skin?  If so, what lies beneath?  In a dilapidated hotel in France, there are nests of snakes in the attic.  They are the real deal.  It is the other type you should avoid.  Beautiful, commanding, mesmerizing.  Deadly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    A brilliantly gripping dark thriller. This was my first Sadie Jones read and it appears that I've been missing out, on the plus side I went into this with zero expectations so was caught completely unaware by how desperate I wanted to finish this one. The story follows young Dan and Bea who want to escape their modest life in London and decide to travel across Europe. Early on in their journey they decided to stop off at Bea brothers hotel in France. It's quite apparent early on that theres a dysfu A brilliantly gripping dark thriller. This was my first Sadie Jones read and it appears that I've been missing out, on the plus side I went into this with zero expectations so was caught completely unaware by how desperate I wanted to finish this one. The story follows young Dan and Bea who want to escape their modest life in London and decide to travel across Europe. Early on in their journey they decided to stop off at Bea brothers hotel in France. It's quite apparent early on that theres a dysfunctional family situation as Bea has distanced herself from her parents. So of course they soon arrive at the dilapidated hotel. The stark differences between Bea and her wealthy parents is what drives the plot, especially when tragedy strikes. That event alters the dynamic of the family and the tone moves more into a thriller element, with many questions of what happened. This is a story all about money and does wealth ultimately make you happy. The manner that Bea's father acquired his wealth is also questionable. I was actually surprised to see another Jones novel in my pile (I can't be the only one who loses track of what books they actually brought?!), so will bump that one closer to the top.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Shelve under Horror. Possibly the most misanthropic book I’ve read in some while. The ending of the book, seemingly imported from another book, is just a giant F*#k You to the reader. Content warning for ultra violence at the end. The shortcuts of utter hopelessness and blatant nihilism felt lazy and uncreative. I finished feeling angry this book even exists, but it made me appreciate even more what other writers and artists have given us in the face of despair. What a fitting wrap to 2019 - hop Shelve under Horror. Possibly the most misanthropic book I’ve read in some while. The ending of the book, seemingly imported from another book, is just a giant F*#k You to the reader. Content warning for ultra violence at the end. The shortcuts of utter hopelessness and blatant nihilism felt lazy and uncreative. I finished feeling angry this book even exists, but it made me appreciate even more what other writers and artists have given us in the face of despair. What a fitting wrap to 2019 - hoping for better things next year!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    Sadie Jones's “The Snakes” is the perfect antidote to a relaxing summer’s day. Her title practically hisses the story’s symbolic implication, pricking those ancient warnings embedded in the Garden of Eden and the face of Medusa. And the novel’s contemporary setting exhibits the markings of Gothic terror, with wry allusions to Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe and even Stephen King. But Jones coils all these old elements around new anxieties involving race and class — and then constricts until fresh Sadie Jones's “The Snakes” is the perfect antidote to a relaxing summer’s day. Her title practically hisses the story’s symbolic implication, pricking those ancient warnings embedded in the Garden of Eden and the face of Medusa. And the novel’s contemporary setting exhibits the markings of Gothic terror, with wry allusions to Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe and even Stephen King. But Jones coils all these old elements around new anxieties involving race and class — and then constricts until fresh panic sets in. Although the wizardry here never breaks the bounds of ordinary reality, this is suspense written in parseltongue. At the opening, a young British couple decides to take a long road trip. Bea, who is white, is an earnest psychotherapist determined to live as moral a life as she possibly can. Her husband, Dan, who is mixed-race, is an artist trying to make ends meet by working as a real estate agent. Driving around Europe for three months will exhaust their meager savings, but they hope the excursion will give them time to reassess their lives back in London. Things do not go as planned — not anywhere close. Jones is a patient sower of dread. The tiny seeds of concern she plants along the way germinate and blossom in lurid hues. The initial tension between Bea and Dan about their itinerary and family obligations feels like an ordinary marital disagreement, but it sets a path toward doom. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I loved most of this book, but if I had a hardcover in my hand, instead of my kindle, I might have thrown it across the room at the "end." Quotation marks - because there is no end to this novel. The author simply stops writing.Snakes is a deep, complicated, multi-layered novel. I didn't expect Jones to give us a neat ending with all the loose ends tied up in a bow. But I did expect something, some moment of understanding, maybe, in return for the hours of my life I invested in her story. Jones I loved most of this book, but if I had a hardcover in my hand, instead of my kindle, I might have thrown it across the room at the "end." Quotation marks - because there is no end to this novel. The author simply stops writing.Snakes is a deep, complicated, multi-layered novel. I didn't expect Jones to give us a neat ending with all the loose ends tied up in a bow. But I did expect something, some moment of understanding, maybe, in return for the hours of my life I invested in her story. Jones is a strong and accomplished writer. From the first chapter I cared about Beatrice, a young married woman who is determined to live her own life, apart from and independent of her super rich, manipulative parents. To give her whiny husband a treat, she takes time off work for a trip across Europe, financed by their meager savings. They visit her older brother Alex, who lives in an empty hotel in France, where he drinks every day and battles nests of snakes in the attic and grounds. The snakes are just one of the broken promises implicit in the title,the promos, and dropped into the text of this book. We turn pages eagerly, watching for the big snake scene. It never happens. Don't tell me the snakes are a metaphor. Of course, they stand for the slime Beatrice escaped. The slime that still trapped Alex. Nothing happens to the snakes in this story, real or metaphorical. They continue to live in peace in their rich and rotten nests, while Alex and Beatrice, the only likable characters in the novel, are cruelly annihilated.For the quality of the writing: 5 stars. But with the lazy non-ending, only 3.

  13. 4 out of 5

    book rat

    I would recommend this book to people. I want other people to read it, because I want to discuss it with them. The writing was crisp and clean, the characters knowable, the themes elegantly considered. The whole thing was largely very successful. So why two stars? The book hinged on a married couple dealing with the wife's wealthy background. The wife wanted nothing to do with her family's money. The husband thought maybe using some of the money wasn't such a bad thing. The author presents both s I would recommend this book to people. I want other people to read it, because I want to discuss it with them. The writing was crisp and clean, the characters knowable, the themes elegantly considered. The whole thing was largely very successful. So why two stars? The book hinged on a married couple dealing with the wife's wealthy background. The wife wanted nothing to do with her family's money. The husband thought maybe using some of the money wasn't such a bad thing. The author presents both sides of their conflict with nuance and compassion, and I was right there with her, along for the ride, totally pliant. And then all at once, the plot passed swift judgement on the characters. At the end of this novel I had no doubt as to who was meant to have the moral upper hand -- which isn't a bad thing necessarily. It's just, I disagreed. Not in a vague, mild way either, but completely. Right at the end I was suddenly no longer a pliant reader, but a disobedient, outraged one. There was no sense of chaos falling to order. There was also no sense of the inherent chaos of the universe -- this was not a book about bad things sometimes happening to good people. These characters were punished for their actions, and I thought it was unjust. Which is why I would very much like someone else to read it so that we can either agree and bitch together or disagree and argue. So maybe this book was ultimately completely successful. Either way, I hated it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I listened to “The Snakes” by Sadie Jones, performed by Imogene Church on Amazon’s Audible. For me, Imogene Church’s performance made this story. Church has an amazing range in her voice. Each character had a distinct voice, and I found it amazing that it was only one narrator. The story is depressive and horrible. Again, the reason I kept listening was Church. The writing is clever and author Jones is skilled. It’s the story itself that was, for me, difficult to get through. One must be in the r I listened to “The Snakes” by Sadie Jones, performed by Imogene Church on Amazon’s Audible. For me, Imogene Church’s performance made this story. Church has an amazing range in her voice. Each character had a distinct voice, and I found it amazing that it was only one narrator. The story is depressive and horrible. Again, the reason I kept listening was Church. The writing is clever and author Jones is skilled. It’s the story itself that was, for me, difficult to get through. One must be in the right mood to listen to such dysfunction. The novel is marketed as devastating, and that it is. The dysfunctional English family is the Adamsons. Patriarch Griff is a billionaire who has the disposition of a recalcitrant toddler. We’ve all seen them, older men who are demanding, yelling, exhausting, and expectant that all his needs are met immediately. Adding to that is his demeaning way he treats his children. The matriarch, Liv, is self absorbed and dramatic. She’s the skeletal wealthy wife who demands all attention. Bea is the youngest child, who disassociated herself with her parent’s wealth. The middle brother, Alex, is a total mess. Why he’s a mess is revealed in the story and it will make your stomach twist. It’s a story of wealth and greed. There’s a bit of racism in it. Bea’s husband is black and encounters unfairness with the authorities. Furthermore, Bea’s husband is attractive while Bea is, well a bit dumpy, given she tries to everything that her mother is NOT. Thus, it’s questioned why a handsome man would be with a homely wife. The main theme, though, is the snake pit that is the parental unit. It’s a creepy story and one that should have a caution to it. I recommend the audio because Imogene Church is amazing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Haak

    This book sounded so promising and I was really looking forward to reading it. But it was a largely disappointing read. I'm not sure what Sadie Jones's intention was with this book. Is it about family? Money? Love? Abuse? Is it a thriller? A realistic novel? Drama? I think Jones wanted too much, the result being unsatisfying. There were some excellent parts, very thrilling as well, but then there were also large parts, which went nowhere and were unbelievable and annoying. All in all, the book is This book sounded so promising and I was really looking forward to reading it. But it was a largely disappointing read. I'm not sure what Sadie Jones's intention was with this book. Is it about family? Money? Love? Abuse? Is it a thriller? A realistic novel? Drama? I think Jones wanted too much, the result being unsatisfying. There were some excellent parts, very thrilling as well, but then there were also large parts, which went nowhere and were unbelievable and annoying. All in all, the book is unbalanced and the ending is insane. Thank you Random House UK for the ARC.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Meet the Adamsons. They are an ultra-rich family who can only be called venomous. The father, Griff, made an obscene amount of money as an exploitive slum landlord and his attractive wife, Liv, is a malignant narcissist who has done great emotional harm to at least one of her children. Their youngest, Bea (referred mockingly by her father as St Beatrice) somehow escaped from this snake pit and lives frugally with her husband Dan, a handsome mixed-race, impoverished man who has dreams of followin Meet the Adamsons. They are an ultra-rich family who can only be called venomous. The father, Griff, made an obscene amount of money as an exploitive slum landlord and his attractive wife, Liv, is a malignant narcissist who has done great emotional harm to at least one of her children. Their youngest, Bea (referred mockingly by her father as St Beatrice) somehow escaped from this snake pit and lives frugally with her husband Dan, a handsome mixed-race, impoverished man who has dreams of following his artistic muse. Instead, he toils away at a soul-sucking job as an estate agent. When Bea and Dan decide to take a little time off, and end up visiting Bea’s brother Alex—a recovering drug addict—at a French hotel bought for him by their father, all hell begins to break loose. The snakes are within and outside the hotel: writhing around in the upper attic and outside with the arrival of the Adamsons. Tragedy is bound to occur and when it does, it shakes Bea and Dan to their very foundations. Will they be able to shed their protective skin and morph into their real essence? Or will they be trapped the way their slithering counterparts in the attic are? The Snakes is a propulsive page-turner. When forced to close the pages temporarily, the book kept beckoning to me. Not only is it a psychological suspense novel, it also poses questions about human nature and its unending greed. Can we overcome the circumstances of our family upbringing? Can money be used as a force of good or is it all evil? How do you resist its siren call? This atmospheric book will have you pondering all of it as the coiling plot unfolds

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    I wasn't actually expecting any real snakes to be featured in this book (regardless of its title). However I was pleasantly surprised to leave that the use of snake in the title wasn't just metaphorical when a few slithering friends showed up. Broken into four parts, The Snakes is a character study that has little plot besides that which everyday life would gives us all; family problems, marriage troubles, insecurity, financial woes, etc. There is nothing particularly special about Sadie Jones n I wasn't actually expecting any real snakes to be featured in this book (regardless of its title). However I was pleasantly surprised to leave that the use of snake in the title wasn't just metaphorical when a few slithering friends showed up. Broken into four parts, The Snakes is a character study that has little plot besides that which everyday life would gives us all; family problems, marriage troubles, insecurity, financial woes, etc. There is nothing particularly special about Sadie Jones novel; and yet I didn't want to put it down! Characters All of the characters feel like real-life people. From the remorse, anger, and grief they each feel; through to their actual actions and words to one another we see that each of them is trying to do 'the right thing' in their own way. We see a marriage begin to fall apart, a rich family that is in shambles that no amount of money can fix, and our leading lady whom is struggling to be true to herself, loyal to her husband, and bonded with her family. Motivation One thing that Jones does a wonderful job of in The Snakes is talks about motivation for living. The actual act of existing requires some sort of desire. What is your motivation for living? Is it just to live each day and enjoy it? Is it to garner enough money (and when have you achieved 'enough')? Is it to have a certain lifestyle or acquire a certain number of things or even family members (ie: children)? Each of us has some sort of motivation that keeps us going. Jones challenges the reader to determine what their motivation is as she reveals that which drives our individual characters. I loved Bea's motivation in the end; to exist. It seems so simple and yet it's probably the most complex of all the characters driving forces. It's also certainly the hardest for those around her to understand. Harsh Topics While this is largely a book in which the emotions and feelings of the characters are most important; those emotions are inspired by some awful events. It's worth noting that themes of rape, child molestation, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence are all seen at some point in The Snakes. It may not be for long, and some are not key plot points for the characters (while others are) but there are a couple pages that I could see many people having trouble reading. In no way are they overly gruesome or any more graphic than necessary to give you the feeling Jones intends. But for those sensitive readers that struggle to have certain events described for them, I would caution you prior to picking this up. Overall This is a very emotional book. Not necessarily in that it will make you cry (although it absolutely could!) but that it describes very intense feelings on so many different spectrums and from many viewpoints. At the end of the day The Snakes is all about people and their relationships with others. In particular their relationships with the truth as it relates to others. Near the end of the book it occurred to me that so much would be less messy in the story if our characters were more honest with one another. Especially between the married couples. Jones made me appreciate that I can say almost anything to my own husband and know that he will not jump to conclusions; but will instead try to see my viewpoint (as I will his). That's not to say it's easy; but The Snakes is a good example of how much worse it can be to hide the truth. Overall a very well written and compelling contemporary character study. Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. ——————— Pre-read comments Snakes aren't all scary! I own 3 and my best boy is a big Boa named Bowie. Sounds very intriguing. eARC received and added to my TBR list! Look for my read and review closer to publication date.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    3.5 stars.. write more in a bit -- Okay, I'm still not entirely sure what I think of this book. I've gone back and forth a lot on what sort of rating to give this book, since the entire time I was reading I thought it was 'meh' but by the end I had such a visceral reaction. The first section of the book was mostly a drawn out fancy dinner discussion about privilege, ethics, etc, amongst only rich white people, which was exhausting. I just didn't care about anything that they were talking about, an 3.5 stars.. write more in a bit -- Okay, I'm still not entirely sure what I think of this book. I've gone back and forth a lot on what sort of rating to give this book, since the entire time I was reading I thought it was 'meh' but by the end I had such a visceral reaction. The first section of the book was mostly a drawn out fancy dinner discussion about privilege, ethics, etc, amongst only rich white people, which was exhausting. I just didn't care about anything that they were talking about, and found it entirely irrelevant. However, a small twist occurs just before the halfway point which made this book slightly more interesting. As events built up, I found myself reading along quickly enough. But even so, I didn't really care about any of the characters. Bea and her family annoyed me throughout the entirety of the book, and Dan was kind of pushed to the sideline, where his experience as a black man was ignored, or just used as a weird plot point that I didn't think was necessary. I thought the race aspect was just thrown in to add some element of woke-ness or something to this book, and didn't really have a place in the story that much. The one time it was injected was very startling and seemingly random. I think this book just addresses too many themes. Jones tries to address wealth, privilege, sexual abuse, family, grief, sexuality, race and probably more if you paused to think about it. It was just too much to try and cover in a single novel, and left me confused about what I was actually supposed to get from the story. And the ending itself was so random as well. A new character was introduced at the last minute, and it was all tied up rather neatly. It just confused me a lot, and was kind of unsatisfying, even if it left me on the edge of my seat while reading. Overall, I didn't connect to any of the characters (all of whom, minus Dan, who were insanely wealthy), found the ending bizarre, and was, and still am, confused about the point of the story. If you're going to write about rich people, fine, but embrace that, and don't try to inject a sense of perspective, at least when it seems as disingenuous as it appears here. However, this book has quite a beautiful cover, so I'll give it that. Thank you to HarperCollins for providing an advanced copy of this book for review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    switterbug (Betsey)

    "She wondered what level of wealth it took to rearrange the molecules." This may be the bravest book that Sadie Jones has ever written, and truly, all of hers rear their defiant heads. She doesn’t land it as a deafening whack, more like a sober blow. You know that you are walking on a minefield when you are reading her novels; it’s with subtle baby steps that lead to the inevitable. You don’t wholly see it coming because it could have gone another way, the one you were expecting. Then hisssss, th "She wondered what level of wealth it took to rearrange the molecules." This may be the bravest book that Sadie Jones has ever written, and truly, all of hers rear their defiant heads. She doesn’t land it as a deafening whack, more like a sober blow. You know that you are walking on a minefield when you are reading her novels; it’s with subtle baby steps that lead to the inevitable. You don’t wholly see it coming because it could have gone another way, the one you were expecting. Then hisssss, the snakes! With their Mona Lisa smiles. This book follows one family, particularly, a .1% billionaire and his family. They are all a hot mess. The father may seem like a stereotype to innocent ones, but you’ve met--well, I’ve met--men like Griff, consummately unsympathetic. You can’t design your parents. You can only leave them when you grow up. “’When you’re gone…and you look back, this will feel like a dream.’” Griff’s wife, Liv, is criminal in other ways, and his son, Alex is an addict trying to follow the NA path. Our focus is with Griff’s daughter, Bea, and her husband, Dan. Bea, according to Griff, was no prize in the “looks” department, and a little bit “frumpy.” She’s also exceptionally kind, and a psychotherapist in London. Dan has the education and heart of an artist, but he’s stuck being an estate agent. His mother is black and fiercely protective. His father is white and absent his whole childhood. He’s what the young call Hot AF. He fell in love with Bea’s kindness and quiet dignity. Bea wants zero to do with Griff’s money. She sees her parents once every few years. Needless to say, they are all stuck in outback France in a hotel-to-be that Alex is restoring—it is terminally under construction and not fit for guests yet. He’s got an ADD and eccentric personality and is always running in different directions simultaneously. There’s a dark cloud over this family, this house, and getting there is painful, for the reader, also. “You’d swear you could see it, in the cracks in the pavements and the bricks in the walls; violence and grief.”

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    The Snakes proves there's nothing like good old family drama. Like super dysfunctional with major issues, and money plays a role here. The snakes were creepy to think about, but it's not a story about snakes. The entire thing is so odd yet very intriguing. I didn't like the characters, but I liked the story. It's thought provoking and ambiguous and absorbing. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review. The Snakes proves there's nothing like good old family drama. Like super dysfunctional with major issues, and money plays a role here. The snakes were creepy to think about, but it's not a story about snakes. The entire thing is so odd yet very intriguing. I didn't like the characters, but I liked the story. It's thought provoking and ambiguous and absorbing. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    The story wasn’t bad but the pace was too slow. The first half of the book was glacial. The book also needed to lose about 150 pages. In the second half the plot kicked in and the pace picked up but the ending was too horrible to think about

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie Parks

    Everything about this book seems explosive. I mean, imagine having this sensation under your chair while reading a book... It's a very twisty book that spins out of the zone of predictable about halfway in. I can't say I found it super shocking, the word that comes to mind the most is actually beautiful. And this feeling strangely lingers...even after that ending. It's very atmospheric but not necessarily in a creepy crime genre kind of way. For me, reading this book made me more interested in visi Everything about this book seems explosive. I mean, imagine having this sensation under your chair while reading a book... It's a very twisty book that spins out of the zone of predictable about halfway in. I can't say I found it super shocking, the word that comes to mind the most is actually beautiful. And this feeling strangely lingers...even after that ending. It's very atmospheric but not necessarily in a creepy crime genre kind of way. For me, reading this book made me more interested in visiting France than afraid of this scenario potentially playing out on my holidays there. The writing is simply stellar. An engaging, slow trickle into the unknown...and those snakes. The metaphors and beyond metaphors of what snakes represent to most people - I think these start tickling your curiosity even at the first glance at the synopsis. Sadie Jones's writing reminded me of Dennis Lehane, especially Since We Fell. Both books seem to have layers of mystery, character building (the battle between who will turn out to be the alpha gender in the end...), the intriguing backdrop that supposedly has little to do with the action plot other than the symbolism (or does it?!) but which serves for a mind-blowing journey because how many thrillers have more layers than just the cliff-hanging stage. And then that I-saw-it-coming-but-REALLY??? ending. And that's how you score when it comes to creating unforgettable fiction! Big thank you to Random House UK and Vintage Publishing for gifting me this copy in exchange for my review (that I'm so sorry took this long to get to). A true summer recommendation to those wishing to visit France in real life, or fictional.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacey A. Prose and Palate

    "He had conceived of forgiving his abuser. It was cruel it was always left to the victims to be the bigger person, the better person, and no real punishment for the ones who hurt them, who carried on unchanged and unpunished. His pain was nothing to her, she made it her pain. She took everything from him, even his death. And he had forgiven her. To love the person who had broken you. That was brave.....She dropped the folded letter, holding it out, so it wouldn't get caught in the vines. Then sh "He had conceived of forgiving his abuser. It was cruel it was always left to the victims to be the bigger person, the better person, and no real punishment for the ones who hurt them, who carried on unchanged and unpunished. His pain was nothing to her, she made it her pain. She took everything from him, even his death. And he had forgiven her. To love the person who had broken you. That was brave.....She dropped the folded letter, holding it out, so it wouldn't get caught in the vines. Then she took the snakeskin, gently, from the wall." I found myself unable to tear away from the massive dysfunction of the Adamson family and I thought the physical as well as the metaphorical imagery of snakes throughout this novel was absolutely brilliant. I loved how Bea made such a determined attempt to "shed" her ties with her family. Then there was Liv - patiently lying in wait for the right opportunity to strike at Alex, slowly squeezing the life out of him after each encounter, leaving him unable to cope with the events from his past and ultimately rendering him helpless from her toxicity. SHE. WAS.VILE. The plot progresses incredibly slowly, and at a hefty 450 plus pages, this will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea. I shivered more than once as I read... not just from the idea of snakes slithering around in my walls but also from the way the author so wickedly wrote some of the characters and the overall ominous atmosphere. I found myself completely invested in Bea, Dan and Alex. I wanted to know what made them tick, what secrets they were hiding and I was fascinated by how they evolved as the story progressed. This was well on its way to being a 5 star read for me (the writing is FANTASTIC), but the ending was so brutal and abrupt it was like I had stepped in to a completely different book. If you are in the mood for a slow burning, dark, intense character study packed with stellar prose and metaphors galore, than this is the book for you. TW: I do want to make the disclaimer that there are some very hard topics discussed in this book, so if child abuse and incest are triggering situations for you, please proceed carefully. Many thanks to Harper Collins for sending an advanced copy to me in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Whitbread

    Unfortuantly this book was just not for me, I didn't connect with any of the characters at all and the writing style seemed to change throughout, which made it feel like more than one author had wrote this. I didn't like the ending at all, and this knocked another star off of my rating! I think this is a proper marmite read, you will either love this or hate it. Unfortuantly this book was just not for me, I didn't connect with any of the characters at all and the writing style seemed to change throughout, which made it feel like more than one author had wrote this. I didn't like the ending at all, and this knocked another star off of my rating! I think this is a proper marmite read, you will either love this or hate it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maris

    The nicest thing I can say about this novel is that the last half of it is not boring.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this absorbing, thought-provoking ARC. Don't be misled by the title thinking it will be a horror story involving poisonous snakes. The snakes are only mentioned a few times and are of the harmless variety. This is a superbly written character driven novel which progresses at a slow pace, examining a twisted, very dysfunctional family, and the gradual strains on a marriage. The author examines in detail some very flawed characters and the Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this absorbing, thought-provoking ARC. Don't be misled by the title thinking it will be a horror story involving poisonous snakes. The snakes are only mentioned a few times and are of the harmless variety. This is a superbly written character driven novel which progresses at a slow pace, examining a twisted, very dysfunctional family, and the gradual strains on a marriage. The author examines in detail some very flawed characters and the greed and corruption that the acquisition of large sums of money entails. It was hard to completely like any of the characters, but the author’s skill makes them believable. There is tragedy part way through the book, and also violence, fright and dread at its open-ended conclusion. The patriarch of the family is a greedy, overbearing bully, and a billionaire. He has exaggerated right-wing views on society, believes in the inequality of distribution of wealth, no use for public services and certainly no sympathy for the poor or even the working middle class. He has no hesitation in loudly proclaiming his views. He is obsessed with always accumulating more wealth and power. His fragile, needy wife is an enigma at first, but we gradually discover her dark secrets make her a danger to her family and as unlikable as her husband. The parents have ignored their daughter, Bea, while she was growing up. Now the father is intent on pushing goods and money her way. She stubbornly refuses to accept any help from them. She argues with her father’s political/social views and appears to dislike him. Her greatest hatred is towards her mother whom she tries to ignore. We eventually learn her reasons. Bea is married to Dan, a mixed race man, who once aspired to be an artist. He has had to go into real estate, which he dislikes intensely. Bea has become a psychotherapist. Together they make a modest salary and struggle to make ends meet. Dan initially agreed with her decision not to accept help from her family but is now changing his mind once he learns of the vast extent of their wealth. In fact, Dan’s father, who has been absent all his life, contributed to their ordinary city flat. Dan is so unhappy in his work that Bea agrees for him to give it up. They rent their flat and take their savings to embark on a 3 month holiday in Europe to see the major tourist sites. They plan to make a short stop in Burgandy to visit Bea’s beloved brother. Alex, at a hotel their father gave him to run. Alex is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He seemed fractured in his emotional development, and stunted at a teenaged stage, at times affectionate but childish. He has done nothing to make the dilapidated hotel functional. He keeps a ledger writing in a list of fictional guests and their favourable comments. Keys to the always vacant hotel rooms have been named for the 7 deadly sins which amuses him. Snakes have invaded the attic and serve as a metaphor for trouble. Bea and Dan receive the unwelcome news that their parents are arriving for a visit. Dan cannot understand why she is cold towards the mother. They reluctantly stay as Bea feels she must protect her damaged brother. Soon a tragedy occurs, which prolongs their stay, and makes them endure questioning by the French police. Dan is subject of racism in his interviews, and there is a long struggle with bureaucracy. Somehow the couples’ lives are in mortal danger. I found this book to be a gripping, disturbing character study increasing in menace and dread. I will be looking for other books by Sadie Jones. *4.5* stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    All snakes are carnivores. Snakes swallow their prey whole. Snakes sleep with their eyes open. Snakes do not hibernate. Instead they lie dormant biding their time. Consider yourself warned. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve these creatures have had a bad rap. But in Sadie Jones's latest foray it is the two-legged variety that one must be wary of. The Snakes is a slow deliberate novel with little to no characters that warranted empathy. With power, privilege and moral corruption taking center sta All snakes are carnivores. Snakes swallow their prey whole. Snakes sleep with their eyes open. Snakes do not hibernate. Instead they lie dormant biding their time. Consider yourself warned. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve these creatures have had a bad rap. But in Sadie Jones's latest foray it is the two-legged variety that one must be wary of. The Snakes is a slow deliberate novel with little to no characters that warranted empathy. With power, privilege and moral corruption taking center stage, its plot exposes the underbelly of humanity. Incisive. Horrific. Shocking. The Snakes is surely a novel we'll be talking about for a long time. Wish granted by Harper Collins Publishers and NetGalley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Thank God this has just arrived as all my other reading choices seem to be falling flat in my ears. Already adore Bea the main character for her goodness. Sadie Jones never fails to create fully realised characters that feel like people you've met and know well by the time you finish her novels. Every character in this book, major or minor, succeeds on these terms. A dark and powerful novel that is a state of the nation metaphor for the times we're living through now. Greed and lust for money smo Thank God this has just arrived as all my other reading choices seem to be falling flat in my ears. Already adore Bea the main character for her goodness. Sadie Jones never fails to create fully realised characters that feel like people you've met and know well by the time you finish her novels. Every character in this book, major or minor, succeeds on these terms. A dark and powerful novel that is a state of the nation metaphor for the times we're living through now. Greed and lust for money smother every good impulse anyone has, its corrupting influence and its lack ruin lives. I'm a Londoner and have seen first hand the destruction wreaked by unscrupulous property developers and the buildings they put up for foreign investors - money coming from the Far East, Russia, anywhere. To paraphrase a paragraph in the novel - rich people don't care what colour your skin is as long as you have lots of money, if you don't have any money then suddenly skin colour matters. Themes of race, obsession with beauty, child abuse, self-centredness of baby boomer parents who never fought a war but have benefitted richly from the decades of peace that came after but in the process have beggared the next generation, destroying their future rendering them damaged, weak and unable to act. I think Sadie Jones is 100% spot on with all of this. That is exactly the situation we face. And worse evil wins and will go on winning unless those of us who are liberal and 'good' learn to fight back rather than turn away. The ending is bleak, parts of the novel are flawed(really this is more 4.5 stars but I'm going with 5 stars for sheer guts in writing this) and Jones could have gone further with her portrait of greedy corrupted spoilt baby boomer parents who lived through decades of 'me me me' the individual is more important than the whole. But it is still an extremely powerful, one that a lot of people simply won't grasp. Spoiler here... Jones' novels often have dark themes at their core, here the darkness has engulfed all the good people. At the end a random American psycho-path has the last word - which is exactly where we are with Trump. Liberal snowflakes need to wake up, fight back, not with reason or aspirations of niceness but with weapons far more hardcore than that. Will that happen?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    oooooooooooooooooooooohmygod. Ten thousand emotions and an ending I did not see coming. A literary family thriller, maybe? Marriage, how strong it is, how weak it is. Families -- dysfunctional. France, decaying hotels. Survivors. Surviving. Here's how I described it to friends: if you want something that is a total beach read -- family dysfunction, a marriage challenged, tragic death, decaying French hotel -- but with a slightly literary style, this is that book. It's compulsively terribly irresi oooooooooooooooooooooohmygod. Ten thousand emotions and an ending I did not see coming. A literary family thriller, maybe? Marriage, how strong it is, how weak it is. Families -- dysfunctional. France, decaying hotels. Survivors. Surviving. Here's how I described it to friends: if you want something that is a total beach read -- family dysfunction, a marriage challenged, tragic death, decaying French hotel -- but with a slightly literary style, this is that book. It's compulsively terribly irresistible. I love Sadie Jones and her work: her narrative style is a little dreamy, a little pretty, a little drawn out in a way that I admire. Her characters are complicated and real, so very familiar. The politics here felt a little on the nose, but then again, with Trump as president, everything is cartoony and can't be helped. No real villains; or everyone is a villain, save for our heroine, Bea (called St Bea, rather meanly, by her father). I loved her; she wanted so badly just to do right. (view spoiler)[And of course, it's her fucking family -- her father, her greedy, selfish father -- who caused the real catastrophe. I was ready to let Dan be punished for everything, when he decided to make money more important than his marriage, but he was redeemed at the end for me. But God, Bea didn't deserve what happened. (hide spoiler)] I'm still rattled by the end. Shaking. I won't be able to rid myself of it for a while.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ThatBookGal

    I was on the fence between 3 and 4 stars for this one, so a true rating of 3.5 rounded down. It was such a twisted, odd read, that it's really hard to rate. It seems strange to say I enjoyed, given a lot of the book made me feel super uncomfortable, but I did enjoy the read. I wouldn't even begin to know how to define the genre of The Snakes. Its dark and depressing, and a book that just displays the absolute faults of the human race. The book centres on one family, and the aftermath of a traged I was on the fence between 3 and 4 stars for this one, so a true rating of 3.5 rounded down. It was such a twisted, odd read, that it's really hard to rate. It seems strange to say I enjoyed, given a lot of the book made me feel super uncomfortable, but I did enjoy the read. I wouldn't even begin to know how to define the genre of The Snakes. Its dark and depressing, and a book that just displays the absolute faults of the human race. The book centres on one family, and the aftermath of a tragedy. Bea and Dan are the main protagonists, the familys only daughter and her husband. Sadie Jones does an amazing job of putting you completely unease, throughout the entire book. There is constantly an impending sense of doom, and you're never really sure what direction the novel will head in. There is very little action, and a whole lot of talking and personal interactions, so much so that you almost feel as though you are sat in a run down chateau, witnessing the plot unfold in front of you. The ending was....what even just happened?! And although you kind of sense it coming, it's still pretty much 'WHAT?!'. Which just adds to the overall confusion as to what genre this book truly fits into. A really odd, well written book, that is well worth the read! Full review available here

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