Cover Image: Liar, Dreamer, Thief

Liar, Dreamer, Thief

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received a free copy of Liar, Dreamer, Thief from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a topsy-turvy novel that is best to go in blind, so no spoiler section from me until this book has already been published. That said, I will definitely be picking up this book when it is published to read it again to pick up the clues that I missed before because this book honestly had me completely confused up until the end as to what could be going on as there are so many different directions that it feels the story could go.

The story starts with an excerpt from a children’s storybook, which brought back flashbacks of Middlegame, but thankfully, this is not that book. Instead, while the book does rule our protagonist’s life, and offer reflections of it on her own, it’s woven into her mental state. As she talks to her roommate, we see her in a landscape that is a combination of a scene from the book and her kitchen, and from there the text weaves a tale where we never are entirely sure what is real and what is not.

A fact not helped by the people she comes in contact with.

Her roommate thinks her insane. The police think she is a drunkard. Her workplace seems to think she is lazy. And on and on, but no one really seems to believe her when she starts to notice that something is off and that the person she had fixated on and started stalking her, might have started to stalk her in kind and then done something irreversible.

Even we as readers start to wonder if what she saw was real. Kurt was real, his disappearance is real according to the gossip around the office. But I started to wonder if she started to make up conversations. Like when she talks to a PI about him missing, she doesn’t confirm he was someone all about conspiracies, but that had instead told her to drop it, and she’d just changed it all in her mind.

And then the end happened.

The end was beautiful and heartbreaking and took a 4 star read up to a 4.5-star read (rounded up to a 5 star read here). The ending was tinted in the bittersweet, but I couldn’t ask for more, and while I’ll let the story sit and churn for a while, I’m looking forward to reading it again and discovering everything I missed on my first read-through.

Was this review helpful?

tw: mental health, suicide

Liar, Dreamer, Thief is a fascinating book. Fascinating, beautiful, and very hard to review, because I can't say that I enjoyed reading the first half of this book at all - reading a book from a main character's perspective who is struggling with some really tough mental health issues is a stressful, itchy experience. As an empathetic reader, I just wanted to take her to see my therapist. The author did an incredible job creating a character that you rooted for even as you saw her struggle to hold her life together at the seams, but that didn't make it any easier to get through the first half of the book.

The second half was much easier to get through, and not because Dong had the main character experience some sort of magical healing that would have completely betrayed the realistic portrayal of mental illness throughout the first half of the book. Rather, it was easier to get through because I could see how a variety of circumstances changing made it possible for the character to start to make her way into the world, and I had a sense of hope that she might be able to get through this book alive.

I don't want to give away the plot of this book too much, because it really is something to be discovered, but the narrative essentially follows a lead character who has been paying MUCH TOO CLOSE attention to one of her coworkers at her shitty temp job, and that attention leads her to observe something terrifying that she cannot convey to anyone she knows. She has long been obsessed with puzzles and has experienced much of the world through a lens borrowed from a favorite book she read as a child, and these skills allow her to investigate this mystery to its fullest.

This book moved me, and I recommend it, though it might be triggering for those whom would relate to it most. The author wrote bravely and she did a wonderful job.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks, Netgalley for the chance at an early read.

I was so impressed with this book. I don’t completely know how to describe it but I want to applaud the author for highlighting mental health in a way that is like a neurodivergent super power.

This is like thriller mixed in with self discovery mixed in with sometimes fantasy.

I’m here for all of it

Was this review helpful?

This was such a crazy ride. From start to finish, I was both scared of, and for Katrina but always feeling this unwavering hope that she would find herself back home. There were some parts where I genuinely had no idea what was happening but I think that adds to the experience. Katrina is clearly unstable and having a chaotic reading experience made it more realistic. I felt like I was in her head.

Was this review helpful?