Obedience by Will Lavender

Obedience by Will LavenderI had read so many great reviews about this book when it was published that I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype. The writing is decent, and the premise is very intriguing:

When the students in Winchester University’s Logic and Reasoning 204 arrive for their first day of class, they are greeted not with a syllabus or texts, but with a startling assignment from Professor Williams: Find a hypothetical missing girl named Polly. If after being given a series of clues and details the class has not found her before the end of the term in six weeks, she will be murdered.

However, I was unable to suspend belief to the level necessary to really “buy” this story for several reasons:

1) I just don’t see 18-20 year olds actually caring as much about the fictional Polly presented in a college course as would be needed to get as sucked down the rabbit hole as they do.

2) The advancement of the plot depends on WAY too many “coincidences” / events happening at just the right time, in just the right location and, on at least one occasion, something most would consider logical behavior NOT happening.

3) As involved as the students get in the mystery, they leave several very obvious avenues of inquiry unexplored (because, of course, doing so would derail the whole story).

4) There is no way as many people could be “in” on things as are required without someone tripping up or, conversely, no way as many people could be clueless to such elaborate events unfolding in (supposed) secrecy around them.

5) There are several events that, even after the book is wrapped up, don’t make sense in context of the given explanation / conclusion.

Perhaps others will not be as “demanding” as I am about characters’ behavior and the suspension of belief required, but I was disappointed that a premise that could have delivered so much came up so short.

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