Book Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

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Published: 2014

I’ve read the first bestseller by “Robert Galbraith” aka JK Rowling, The Cuckoo’s Calling and thoroughly enjoyed the read and so I was excited to pick up the next novel in the series. Honestly, based on some of the reviews that I have read, it seems I was fairly lucky not to have the influence of the Harry Potter world creeping into my head as I read both the books, as a lot of people couldn’t seem to adjust.

I do have to give Rowling credit here though, the voice of the The Silkworm’s narrator can’t be compared to that of Harry Potter. She does a very good job in distancing herself from that Harry Potter world, not only in genre and plot but also in her writing style. I did not see any resemblance between the two novels, with The Silkworm dealing with adult subjects as opposed to the adolescent woes of Harry Potter. It’s actually really neat to think that I grew up with the Harry Potter series, and now I seem to be partners in crime (tehehe pun definitely intended) with Cormoran Strike. I can relate to his love for the Arsenal football club, and his preference for Doombar (a British ale), because these are all things that concern me today that didn’t when I was younger.

The one thing I did not like, particularly in this novel, was how female characters were depicted in the novel. Every woman than Strike spends time with is described as this beautiful bombshell that makes every man’s head turn. His previous relationship of many years was with another stunning and model-esque woman with black hair and green eyes that every man wanted as a wife. But aside from her stunning looks, she’s got an awfully controlling and selfish personality.

The other female role is of course Robin, Strike’s secretary. I like how she is pushing traditional female roles and wanting to find a career instead of just a job until she gets married and settles down (not that there is anything wrong with that of course). She’s willing to put in the time to become a detective like Strike, despite her fiance’s protests and lack of understanding. I really respect and admire that about Robin. At the same time she is sort of ruined in my mind when Strike constantly notes how attractive she is and how, again, men stare at her all the time. I am not sure why that is the only feature that the two most common female characters have in common.

Verdict: Really great murder mystery read, with lots of references to British life and culture which I really enjoyed (maybe that’s a personal preference as I am currently living in the UK). Once you start you can’t put it down, and I like the practical and shrewd Cormoran Strike.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

  1. I liked The Silkworm a lot more than The Cuckoo’s Calling – I felt like Rowling had hit her stride within her new world. I will agree with you that all of the women did seem to be gorgeous but I think that Rowling meant to show us that just because someone is beautiful on the outside, doesn’t mean that their insides match. Strike’s former love is a crazy beyotch. And Robin thinks she wants to settle down and have kids and marry that guy but as she gets to work for Strike more, she starts to realize that maybe that’s not what she wants. I’m looking forward to her character development in the next book.

    When you say that you didn’t have Harry Potter to influence you…you don’t mean that you haven’t read Harry Potter?!

    • Wow, thanks so much for sharing some of your thoughts on this book! I did not see the female characters like that at all. I still don’t fully agree with her making them all drop dead gorgeous just to prove a point. It doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the story for me, I think that she could have easily made that point in a better way.

      Hahaha, of course I have the read the entire Harry Potter series. It was such a big part of my childhood. When I said I didn’t have the influence of Harry Potter creeping in I meant that just because I read the Harry Potter series didn’t mean I transferred that same expectation on this book. I think I a lot of people (especially when she came out with her first couple books) expected them to have some sort of a similarity. But every book that I read by an author I try and treat as a separate entity. It’s true, some authors deal with the same genres and themes in their novels over and over again. I just don’t see J.K Rowling like that, I think she enjoys exploring different characters and situations.

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