To the Lions

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

To the lions is definitely a book I will highly recommend. I love the that there is a female journalist as the main character and how she isn't scared of taking risk in order to get to the truth. The idea of a women taking down major corporations is definitely something I love seeing, more like reading about. This book had me on the edge, all the way to the end. Definitely would read again and recommend to friends they won't be disappointed.
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This book is super fast paced, edge of your seat exciting. I was nervous for Her the entire book. The subject matter is horrifying, however in this crazy world we live in, I can see it being an actual thing. I think that is what makes it so terrifying for me. I just enjoyed this book so much because of the way you get so wrapped up in it. Excellent book.
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To the Lions takes on an intense, complex topic. It’s the type of novel that normally holds me riveted and tears at my emotions. I so wanted to love this book, but I didn’t.

The major issue for me is the total lack of character development. Who are these people and why should I care what happens to them? If I can’t answer that, the rest doesn’t matter. And, for the most part, I didn’t learn anything about these people. Casey and Miranda, our two female leads, are highly driven journalists. They’re unlikable in the way they use and manipulate people, stomping through lives without regard, all in the name of the story. And that’s about all I know. Everyone else is just a chess piece there to serve a purpose for the plot.

The writing style lacks cohesion. We jump around a whole lot, with appearances from an endless procession of characters, none of which breathe life into the story.

The plot itself is horrifying, and yet I only experienced it in the abstract way of knowing but not feeling. The journalistic feel is spot on, which makes sense given the author is a successful investigative journalist herself. But the crossover to fiction didn’t work for me.

About one-third through, when I realized I was skimming way more than I was reading, I knew it was time to give it up.
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To the Lions
A Novel

by Holly Watt



Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 03 Sep 2019

I am reviewing a copy of To the Lions from Penguin Group/Dutton and Netgalley:

Casey Benedict is a star reporter for the Post and she has infiltrated the lives of abd exposes the lies of countless politicians as well as power players! She used her network of contacts too slip into various identities for various situations, Casey is always ready to find the next big story no matter how dangerous.

 Casey becomes tipped off by an unheard conversation at an exclusive night club
and begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a wealthy young British man whose death has left his fiancée and family devastated. The young man’s death is only the start of a far more dangerous scandal that involves some of the world’s most powerful leaders and magnates, men who are gathering in northern Africa for an extreme and secret hunt. With another reporter Miranda and combat veteran Ed by her side, Casey's determined the hunt for the truth will take her from the glitz of St. Tropez to the deserts of Libya and on to the very darkest corners of the human mind. 

I do not recommend To the Lions to anyone under the age of sixteen due to the overuse of profanity.  I give To the Lions three out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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4 out of 5 stars.  A modern day spy thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat!

When Casey, an expose writer at a top paper, gets wind of a suspicious suicide, she begins to investigate on her own.  Her investigation takes her down a dangerous path where the worlds most powerful men are going on the hunt for human flesh.  Casey goes undercover in this alarming setting to truly get to the bottom of this mystery. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s very unique plot.  Taking a page out of modern history and refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa, Holly Watt weave an engaging story that captures your attention!

Thank you to Holly Watt, Dutton Books, and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

#NetGalley #ToTheLions
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I was intrigued by the premise of this, an investigative journalist going undercover to report on crimes in Libya involving refugees being shot for fun. This chilling plot would've been much better served had the author picked up the pace in the first half of the book.  Casey, the main character, decides to partner up with her friend and colleague Miranda to find out the truth about what's happening in Libya. I found Miranda's character boring without much personality. Couple this with the extremely slow and drawn out first half and I almost didn't continue reading. While I found the second half much better paced and interesting, this story wasn't for me in the end.
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Wow! So not expecting this from a thriller! Spooky, sexy, and crazy!!! I loved every minute of it. My advice... go into this book blind. You won’t regret it. What a roller coaster!
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This book just didn't work for me. I couldn't finish it and stopped around 21%. 

FIrst of all I couldn't get into the writing style. It seemed very movie-ish. It jumped through actions leaving a lot to interpretation, and I just don't like that kind of writing. The journalists were looking at each other and knew that they had something big, but it is not revealed to the reader, what exactly they are thinking. It was very annoying, as the answers weren't really there by the time I decided to quit. 

The theme, of hunting in refugee camps seemed like a really interesting one, and I wish I could have gotten hooked to this book and found out what happened, or who is responsible. But not being a journalist and not knowing how all this investigative journalism works, I couldn't find a connection to the story to keep me going. The characters were also forgettable and uninteresting. They seemed like the snoopy kind, know it all, very secretive and that is what makes them unrelatable.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Penquin Group - Dutton for an advance copy of this book. It falls more in the area of journalistic thriller with pretty interesting circumstances. The premise was really intriguing but I felt writing could have been better than this. It still is fast paced and is a thought provoking political thriller.
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This book was not exactly a thriller to me. It was more a journalistic version of a police procedural, a "news procedural" if you will. The star of the plot was not the crime (the story being pursued -- the horrendous practice of human hunting carried out by entitled, wealthy globetrotters), but rather the way in which the story was researched, reported and published.

That part of the plot felt alive and authentic, and Holly Watt's intelligence was on full display through these "behind the scenes" vignettes.

One of Watt's newspaper in-jokes: "Journalists get a lot of free holidays, which is why the travel section tends to have a rather more flattering tone compared with the rest of the paper. Complementary has a homophone."

Some other sections, though, I found far-fetched (and no, the aforementioned atrocity wasn't among them.)

While I loved the relationship between Casey and Miranda, the lengths to which they went to scout and secure a story (the surveillance, the tradecraft, the extreme undercover work) didn't seem as believable, at least to someone steeped in American journalism. And another female character Amelie/Emerald, just didn't ring true at all.

Something else that really slowed my reading progress were the brief sketches in a different typeface scattered throughout the book, seemingly moments from Casey's undercover work. I never figured out what their purpose was, or what they added to the story.

I liked the global scope of this book, and the hard-news issues it grappled with. I liked that Miranda was the more pragmatic of the two journalists (she was obsessed with WHAT had happened), and that Casey, for all her tough exterior, was the more idealistic (and needed to find WHY it happened.)

Yet, for all the nits I've picked here, there was a je ne sais quoi about this book that made it memorable. You know the friend we all have who has a really big personality, who is flawed but irreplaceable? Reading To the Lions was like visiting that friend.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penquin Group Dutton for an advance readers copy of this book.
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Thank you NetGalley and Dutton Books for granting my wish on my request for this book.

To The Lions is a debut novel by Holly Watt, who is a UK based investigative reporter who has written for The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, and The Guardian.

The story is about Casey Benedict, a star reporter for The Post who is looking for the best story in a dog eat dog and cutthroat world of journalism, where you are only as good as your last story. She overhears about a recent scandal and a game being played by the uber wealthy on unsuspecting refugees in Libya. She partners with a fellow reporter Miranda and combat veteran Ed by her side following the story from the UK to St. Tropez to Libya.

The book could only be told with so much grit and gore of the subject matter based on the writer's experience first hand when she was in Libya reporting, and have experienced first hand government uprisings and corporate greed and disloyalty for money, greed and power. The story is very suspenseful and thrilling. The writing has a lot of elements that are terrifying, heartbreaking, dark and chilling. However, I found it thought provoking and still shocking. I love that there are two strong female protagonist that would do whatever it takes to expose how people with money and privilege can use and abuse their power. 

I think that Holly Watt was able to accomplish what she wanted to throw To The Lions in this gripping tale of terrifying proportions I recommend this book for fans of political thrillers and strong female characters. 

Thank you for the ecopy provided in exchange for unsolicited and objective review of this book.
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The story premise is intriguing and the plot was full of action.  It was difficult at times to follow along with at time, but I enjoyed the action.
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I've attempted to get into this book, but I'm having difficulty. I'm sorry. I won't finish it at this time, so will not provide a review of it. :-(
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To the Lions is a stunning book.

Holly Watt has created a story that will pull you in, that will haunt you, that will make you think about horrific things that could so easily be reality. And maybe they are. I wouldn’t be surprised.

This thriller, seemingly the start of a series, focuses on Casey Benedict. Casey is an investigative reporter based in London who is adept at going undercover for the sorts of stories that do capture the attention of the world as they are released in troves and mountains of information that bring down the powerful, wealthy people around the world.

Watt is herself is an investigative reporter in England who worked on many exposes that have grabbed the headlines for weeks at a time. This lends a deeper layer to the novel, because it is easy to see the truth and reality in the detail she goes into. And it isn’t a level of detail that even comes close to dull or boring. It is intense.

I’m going to say a little bit about the plot that drives the story. It is not a spoiler, because it is made very clear from very early on that it happens. The purpose of the story, the thing that carries the narrative, is how Casey and Ed, who is inherently fascinating, uncover the the horrifying plot and how far it reaches.

Also intense is the plot itself – one in which the ultra-wealthy, for reasons that appear to be little more than the proverbial ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, travel to Libya to hunt. They hunt humans. Refugees, to be specific. They stay in one of Muammar Gaddafi’s former palaces and then use high-powered rifles to shoot refugees in a refuge camp in the valley below.

Can’t you imagine that happening today?

I can.

I received a copy of To the Lions through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.
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This book was just not for me. I found it to be very choppy and hard to read. There are random chapters about an unknown persons past that are never explained, I felt like the situation with Ed needed to be expanded on and that the ending needed an actual ending or at the very least an epilogue. I was very surprised when I went for the next page and it was over. It does give a good insight on what could go on when you are investigating to get that big scoop. 

Thank you to netgalley & Dutton for the copy in exchange for the honest review! To The Lions publishes on September 3rd, 2019!
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In this suspenseful thriller we find Casey, an investigative journalist chasing down a horrifying story she overheard while at a nightclub investigating a different story. What she overhears is terrifying and very unsettling. Wealthy people looking for the thrill of the kill, the prey just happens to be unsuspecting refugees living in a camp in Libya. One of the themes of the book is what will a person do, to what lengths will they go to get the story. The main characters are well written, flaws and all and the pace picks up speed as the story develops. There are a few plot holes but nothing too off putting unless you're a stickler for such details. Due to the subject matter I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed it, but it held my attention and had me totally invested throughout. This is a debut novel and I'm not sure if it's the start to a series or not but the ending, while complete, left ME with just enough questions to want it to be. I recommend this one to those of you who like their thrillers topical and thought provoking.

Thank you to Dutton Books and NetGalley for the ARC to read and review.
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Disappointed by this one, didn't finish. Couldn't get behind the plot and this just felt pretty messy, Not sure if this is a debut or not, but it felt like one.
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A chilling thought provoking book a whisper heard an unbelievable game being played a safari where humans hunt humans,Holly Watts writing drew me in kept me turning the pages brought up issues right out of the front pages immigrants their treatment.A mystery a page turner.#netgalley#duttonbooks,
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Does the end always justify the means?? This debut novel addresses this question and many others as Watt delves into the lives of investigative journalism. Casey and Miranda who both work for the Post, find sketchy evidence of a manhunt in Libya and are determined to expose the truth (think The Most Dangerous Game with unsuspecting victims). With combat veteran Ed in tow, the three travel to Libya and use subterfuge and other talents they've gleaned to become part of this chilling "tour." I'll be honest; it's a difficult read because of the subject matter, as it's terrifying and heartbreakingly dark. But in today's political climate, it's both relevant and shockingly real. 
It's even more so for us as we live in San Diego, mere minutes from the border where thousands of refugees are seeking asylum and are living in deplorable conditions, suffering from a multitude of injustices and not knowing what fate awaits them. I shudder each day as I open the newspaper or watch the news on TV and witness what is happening (and yes, on both sides). The answers aren't easy I know. Today's news is about the outbreak of mumps in 57 detention centers affecting both children and adults. 
So yes, this book is painful but it also addresses concepts we can't hide from. Watt shows us the underpinnings of investigative journalism, both its pitfalls and successes through two incredibly strong female protagonists. My heart was in my throat for most of the book but I liked it much more than I anticipated!
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I requested this gem from Dutton because I was intrigued by the vague blurb. I think Watt did a good job in her freshman novel. Casey is a reporter for the Post in the UK, and in the midst of her undercover work, she catches a tip, people are hunting humans. Surely that can't be what is going on, but worse things have happened in the history of humans. With the help of Miranda, another reporter that she works closely with, they set out to uncover what exactly is going on and how they can bring it to light for the world. 

Watt covers quite a few things in To The Lions, including the refugee crisis, human smuggling, the starvation, the extent of sexual assault, and the suffering people endured under Gadaffi. I also think, whether intentional or not, she exposes some of the filth that is the world of reporting, the lengths people will go to "get the story", and Ed's character does a great job at sharing the feelings of the distaste at the fact the line is always moving, the lengths and risk always growing bigger. 

The book had a bit of a slow start for me, there was a lot of groundwork to get the story in place and we were thrown a lot of characters at once. But once the story picked up, it turned fast-paced, and you found yourself anxiously turning pages. Casey and Miranda were exceptionally strong characters and this was very well-written. Nicely done.
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