The content of the plot was amazing, as was the character development. I did go in thinking this would be a four star read like the last book of Tara S's that I've read, but there were aspects in the book that stood in the way, concluding to a low rating.
Firstly, I normally give 4 stars to a book that I think is at least all round generally good and that I without a doubt enjoyed reading and additionally, that I know I would have no problem re-reading if I was ever trapped in a room for a day or locked out of my own house or on an 8 hour bus journey to London (All of which have happened to me this year BTW). I didn't get that feeling of possibly wanting to re-read this book in the future if I was ever again under those circumstances. I think this was mostly due to the book being too long. A lot of the parts dragged on and on and on. Especially the last 25%, albeit me being intrigued and shocked by some of the story's revelations, I was wanting it to finally end.
I have to admit, I completely skimmed through the last 15% because I predicted that after having read it all, I would be none the wiser and could tell that the context was all about how certain characters are heartbroken and how their world is drained of colour without each other etc. I just feel like large chunks of the story lacked in dialogue where it was needed to break up the slower parts, and to make it more structured.
The structure was unusual, particularly in the first half of the book. The characters would be in the middle of a conversation and then there would be a flashback where the narrative would jump back to a time of certain significance in a period of the character's life. I'm not sure I liked this because while it was a good technique to drop in information about a characters background, it also took me out of the present moment in the plot and got a little confusing at times when I was brought back because I'd have forgotten the previous sentence of speech prior the flashback. Despite this, as far as third person narratives go, it was definitely written effectively allowing me as the reader to conceive of each of the characters interior thoughts and feelings.
I have to mention another thing that lowered my rating, which was the bad editing. There were missing quotation marks, full-stops, script errors and typos littered everywhere, and as much as I tried to ignore them, the more times I noticed them, the more they irritated me. The last T.E. Sivec book I read was edited impeccably so I'm not sure what happened with this one.
The villains were sickening and really well written. I've read so many stories this year where the villains have been ridiculously written like comic book caricatures or where they have just been pathetic. I'm glad this author didn't feel the need to redeem her villains like most authors do these days.
I am impressed by Sivic's ability to write stories within mixed genres, all completely differently. If I read the Chocolate Lovers and the A Beautiful Lie without knowing better, nothing would have lead me under the impression that they were written by the same author. While Choc/Lovers are comedic and light, A Beautiful Lie was enthralling and dark. It is by means, an angsty suspenseful and sexy thriller. My mind was constantly trying to fill in the puzzles and tie up loose ends, which is always a good thing to have your reader do, so that they don't loose interest. Everything was definitely well thought out and cleverly planned to fall into place.
Conclusively, I did enjoy this riveting thriller, but because of the said points, it is a 3.5*