The most complex novel yet in a unique series by Robert Galbraith (a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling) ... Much of this massive work is pieced together via typographically reproduced tweets and messages sent over public and private channels, often with two or three conversations conducted at once. The author does a masterly job of keeping all plot elements in play and in balance, and the complications only add to the satisfaction of the mystery’s eventual solution. Sorting out the romantic dilemmas of Robin Ellacott and Cormoran Strike, however, will have to wait for a future volume.
Strong, page-turning ... Convincing and genuinely creepy ... It is a very long book – more than 1,000 pages – and while it is readable, it does not sustain that length ... The author gives an even-handed portrayal of how superfans can pile onto a creator, in a storyline that bears unmistakable echoes of the backlash against Rowling in real life ... There is a sneaking suspicion that (of all unexpected things) this book would not pass the Bechdel Test ... Yet the book is undoubtedly entertaining and often funny.
Has Galbraith/Rowling written an epic novel ranging across history and the world? No she has not ... Whole chapters consist of nothing but chat conveyed in up to three columns (or channels) per page. It is hard to read — and hard to identify with characters who can’t or won’t reveal their identities ... Galbraith plays fair with the reader, but it is easy to hide clues in a thousand pages ... So why is the damn thing so long? ... Galbraith remains a children’s writer. Each character, no matter how minor, is laboriously described.
The Ink Black Heart gives new meaning to that familiar phrase of book reviews, 'a weighty tome'. Not in the sense of profundity or thematic depth — though it gives the reader plenty to think about — but the literal one of the astonishingly heft of this latest crime novel ... I couldn’t believe the length...of what is, essentially, a plain old murder-mystery, albeit one of definitively superior quality ... Worries were superfluous. It’s a rip-roaring read, a big, sprawling, at-times electrifying thriller, with the expanse and sweeping momentum of a classic 19th century 'social novel' ... While she does delve into her main protagonists’ minds regularly, Rowling does it briskly, adding to what the reader knows and not simply repeating what they have just learned ... There’s something compellingly creepy about the book as a whole ... It’s all crafted with impeccable precision and more dark humour than I’d expected. In short, Rowling is a great storyteller and The Ink Black Heart is a great story.