Reviews

The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi

millie's review

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challenging dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.25

hesitated between 2 or 3 stars because there's some part of the book that i feel were really good but a lot of also were not good. i would put it at a 2.25.

my main problem with this book is that the author just doesn't know what it want to be : a thriller? contemporary? scifi? horror? they try to sprinkle a little bit of everything but just ends up not sticking to the wall at all or very clumsily. 

i understand the metanarrative of it all and i think it was done very well and effectively, the idea of absorption and consumption pushed to the limits was sort of interesting? however i will say that being in anissa (the mc)'s head was an annoying and pitiful experience and i did not like her which is probably the point but yeah, for a 30-something woman i do find her quite gullible and influencable, doing all of this because of a crush? no thanks.

i just... i am sort of disappointed in a way that i can't seems to explain, except that this book didn't work for me, it may work for other people.

also ... and this is never addressed properly at the end of the book or at any point in the story ever but we never learn for what language does anissa become a storyteller. is it english? is it urdu? literally never adressed ! like you are agreeing to  donate your body to be literally consumed for ... language purpose? and we don't even know what language you're helping with. great.

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cadmanreads's review

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fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A
Very reminiscent of 'Babel' but also has a lot of different things to say. 
It is much lighter in tone especially the first half.

The mystery I liked, but the observations about life, culture and language were the more interesting elements of the book. 


anniemarie321's review

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dark mysterious reflective

4.0

barizley's review

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4.0

The subject matter and the characters were interesting enough to keep me going when I had no clue what was going on. I find language learning fascinating so I was predisposed to like this, but hellooo twists.

I’m pretty ambivalent about the ending, but I recommended this book to multiple people before I finished (something I rarely do) so joke’s on them! Still, I liked it and will keep thinking about it.

therivingtonreader's review

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5.0

This was excellent and I really loved it. And I love the cover so much, I want to frame it and hang it in my house.

The Centre was eerie and definitely felt like something fishy was going on from the start. Which is obviously the point, but maybe I missed the hints because I totally didn't see what was going on coming at all. I thought it was going to be more complex than it actually was.

The most unsettling part to me was when Anisa started to not see a problem with the process:

"Somewhere along the way, I had decided that it was no greater sin to ingest a human being than it was to ingest, say, a cow. Or, arguably, a melon, which is also a living thing. Who was it that decided my flesh was more sacred than, say, Billee's, or Billee's more sacred than a chicken's, or a chicken's more than a pea's? No, that was pure speciesism. It was us humans, as always, adamant on our own superiority."

hella_thao's review

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fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.5

sydneybooks13's review against another edition

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

This book is at least 50% summarizing/telling instead of showing, which made it really hard to connect with. Our main character is not likable either so it didn’t feel like there was much of anything to connect to in order to feel invested. 

The story also just didn’t feel like it went where it wanted to - nothing felt that twisty and the social commentary was mostly very shallow (though there were parts that felt purposefully shallow to juxtapose the main character’s thoughts and actions, it didn’t feel like this was fleshed out enough to account for how shallow it really was). The ending also really annoyed me. I think some people may find it clever but I found it annoying lol 

margahhrett's review

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dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.5

cassiekayyye's review against another edition

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funny mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

atrevin12's review

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dark mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

3.5

I actually really liked this book and hearing Anisa's stream of consciousness. I really recommend listening to the audiobook. The only reason why it's not a 4 star for me is because the ending was a bit anticlimactic.