Book Reviews: “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin and “The High Road” by Terry Fallis

I’m back with another book review, and to open up this month of February, here’s a double book review of  “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin and “The High Road” by Terry Fallis!

The Westing Game

“A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!”

Unlike a lot of books I’ve read, this book is not one you really read for the characters, except for maybe how they’re all interconnected with each other and Westing. As individuals, none of them are particularly interesting except for maybe Turtle, mainly because (spoiler alert!) she’s the one that figures out that

  1. Westing isn’t actually dead and
  2. She figures out who he’s been masquerading as the whole time.

These two plot points don’t happen until about late in the book, which I suppose does make sense given that the whole book is literally about who ‘killed’ Sam Westing. However, the clues leading up to the reveal were confusing and only raised more questions than answers for me. The plot itself is confusing enough, given how it’s a huge whodunit combined with everyone accusing almost everyone of being the culprit, but how the plot twists happened felt too random for me to understand.

Overall, I’m rating this book 1 out of 5 stars!

This is mainly because of the lack of understandable plot, as well as underwhelming characters.

The High Road

“Just when Daniel Addison thinks he can escape his job as a political aide, Angus McLintock, the no-hope candidate he helped into Parliament, throws icy cold water over his plans. Angus has just brought down the government with a deciding vote. Now the crusty Scot wants Daniel to manage his next campaign. 

Soon Daniel is helping Angus fight an uphill battle against “Flamethrower” Fox, a Conservative notorious for his dirty tactics. Together they decide to take “The High Road” and–against all odds–turn the race into a nail-biter with hilarious ups and downs, cookie-throwing seniors, and even a Watergate-style break-in. But that’s only the beginning. Add a political storm in the capital and a side-splitting visit from the U.S. President and his alcoholic wife, and Terry Fallis’s second novel is a wildly entertaining read full of deft political satire and laugh-out-loud comedy.”

I have to say, I liked this book better than the first one. There were definitely instances of “ANGUS NO! ANGUS YES!” in the plot, but the plot and its characters developed much more than that for sure. Angus himself especially developed as a character compared to last book, especially once we learn of his past relationship with his late wife, and how it affects what he believes in and what he does.

The plot can be broken down into two parts: The first half is Angus getting re-elected into Parliament, and the second half is him, Daniel, and others working out a faulty bridge problem. The first half was definitely hilarious, though a little bit on the slow side. It does, however, take the time to further develop all the characters, especially Angus, and it was enjoyable to read.

The second half was also hilarious, but I felt that it was a bit slow at times. I felt like some bits of the plot could have been sped up a bit for a tighter plot, but at the same time it allowed time for character development, especially for Angus.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars!

It’s not often I say the sequel is better than the first book, but in this case it is!

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