Welcome to Wherever You Are by John Marrs ★★☆☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

26205001._SX318_Primary Genre(s): Thriller, Suspense
Published: First published 29 April 2015
Page count: 401
My Format: Audiobook via Hoopla Digital
Cover: Okay
Pacing: Maybe a little slow
Ending: Decent
Would I recommend it: Maybe
Commission Link: Buy Welcome to Wherever You Are

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

 Synopsis (from Goodreads)
How far would you run to escape your past? For eight strangers in a Los Angeles backpacking hostel, even the other side of the world isn’t far enough. The craving for a new identity and the chance to start again is something they have in common. But the search for a fresh start isn’t as easy as they’d imagined. And they soon discover that it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are – if you can’t lay the past to rest, coincidence, fate and deception have a way of catching up with you when you least expect it. 

My Thoughts
This is the third John Marrs book I’ve read in the past month or so. I loved The Passengers and I really liked The One; however, Welcome to Wherever You Are wasn’t as good in my opinion. Here are my pros and cons for Welcome to Wherever You Are:

Pros

  1. The author has a unique ability to allow you to develop an opinion about a particular character and then he pulls the rug out from under you and you find you are completely wrong. This makes me think about times I have “taken a side” or made an assumption about someone based on having only one side of story. There are ALWAYS at least two sides to every story and some of the characters in this book will make you realize you need to make sure you always know both sides!
  2. There were some poignant, sad parts in this book that were well-written.
  3. The book was tied up nicely at the end, but … (see Con #9).

Cons

  1. Marrs definitely likes to write stories with a huge and varied cast of characters – all with seemingly separate stories that are ultimately connected either by a similar circumstance (like The One and The Passengers) or by a similar location/ theme like in this book. This book, however, didn’t have people I felt invested in. Just because each person was running from something and they all ended up at the same hostel together, the stories still felt really independent to me and some were actually pretty boring.
  2. I thought this book was a bit long. With the huge cast of characters and the somewhat uninteresting stories, I found myself losing interest from time to time.
  3. The one character I actually was intrigued with – Ruth – basically disappeared halfway through the book. I kept wanting her to reappear but she didn’t until the very end in what seemed like a “crap I forgot about this character” summary.
  4. There is very little action – not much actually happens. It makes no sense to define a book as a thriller or suspense when not much actually happens.
  5. The chapters switch between characters and they also switch between past and present. For some reason I had difficulty keeping up with all the changes in this book – I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t as invested in the characters/stories, or because I was listening to the audiobook, or what, but I found it sometimes challenging to keep up!
  6. I listened to the audiobook version and every single American character sounded like Bill Clinton. It didn’t matter if the character was male or female – the narrator used a very Clinton-esque voice for them! It was distracting to the max!
  7. I am noticing a trend that Christianity is depicted negatively in all of his books so far. I didn’t pick up on it initially, but after the third book it is becoming very apparent.
  8. I didn’t find this book to be as compelling overall in comparison to his other books I’ve read so far.
  9. While the book ended relatively well, there was no real conclusion. I didn’t necessarily feel satisfied and some of the final situations were a little improbable.

Summary
Since I have been reading Marrs’ books in reverse publication order, it is clear he is honing his craft. His most recent book – The Passengers – is definitely a thriller with a huge cast of characters that is creatively and succinctly written. Welcome to Wherever You Are was written 4 years ago, also has a huge cast of characters, but I wouldn’t describe it as succinct or as a thriller. It is, however, an interesting character study.

If I am honest, I think I would have liked this book more if I had read it before any of his other books. Reading in reverse publication order provided me with a unique view of his progress as an author and it really spotlighted the flaws in this book for me. His later books are much more concise, much more focused, and the individual stories are much more interesting. This book fell a little flat for me overall and was just okay; however, I do not regret reading it.

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Welcome to Wherever You Are. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

7 thoughts on “Welcome to Wherever You Are by John Marrs ★★☆☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

  1. If you like the author, I’d read Welcome first, then Passengers. Passengers is SO good, in my opinion, that Welcome just doesn’t compare. Although, like I said in my review, I bet I would have enjoyed Welcome at least a little bit more if I hadn’t been comparing it to Passengers. Read Welcome first.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read a lot of genres and sometimes my choices appear to be rather random, but there is a method to my madness. I am a NetGalley reviewer, so first and foremost I read the ARCs provided to me from them. I get direct requests from authors to read and review their books. I get recommendations from my teenage granddaughter and I always read what she suggests. I peruse OverDrive and Hoopla Digital for books that pique my interest (and are available). I always read new work from a favorite author or a new book in a series I’m invested in. And, I will admit, I am a sucker for a good cover!

    I actually try not to think too hard about the type of books I read when I am choosing for myself. I basically read the synopsis of a book and if it sounds intriguing or interesting, I will read it. This doesn’t always work out and I don’t always love my choices, but thankfully there are always more books to read next.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your response. At the risk of seeming pushy, my new novel (The Eyes Have It) is available through NetGalley. It is a fast read, about 200 pages, and is a 21st century Romeo and Juliet type story, suitable for YA as well as other readers.

    Liked by 2 people

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