Cover Image: The Pupil

The Pupil

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The Pupil tells the story of Mel, an established defence barrister, and her pupil Natasha. Mel has a successful career and is highly regarded but looking behind the polished surface, she's struggling in her personal life. Separated from her son's father, she has a relationship of sorts with a married man but this is almost entirely on his terms and is becoming more and more frustrating. Her relationship with her son is challenging, as he is getting older he is, as many teenagers do, seeking independence and resisting her attempts to be involved in his life. Enter Natasha, about to start her second six month pupillage at Mel's chambers she is quite the high flier. Emerging from a challenging childhood in care she has worked hard to get herself to where she in now and is on the brink of a promising career. She is liked by her colleagues, solicitors and judges and looks set to be the golden girl of chambers. However, Natasha is also a different person behind closed doors. She is calculating, manipulative and will let nothing stand in her way. Her relationships are cultivated to suit what she needs and wants, giving back only what is required to keep her partner interested and nurturing towards her. Observing Mel, Natasha sees a way in to advancing her career and she plots and she waits. However Mel becomes suspicious of Natasha and her actions and doubts form about her motives and ethics. Their pupil mentor relationship was rocky from the offset but suddenly things begin to change very quickly and it becomes each woman for herself, but who has the most to lose and can they protect the things they value and hold dear? I really enjoy a good drama and The Pupil is a very gripping read. I must confess I wasn't overly keen on Mel but I don't think she is written to be particularly likeable. If anything, reading about her flaws makes her more realistic as a character and in some respects more relatable. I think most parents can relate to her fears about her child growing up and that conflict between letting them spread their wings but also desperately wanting to keep them safe. Some of her choices are questionable but again I don't think there are many people who can truthfully say that they always take the 'correct' option and behave perfectly. The relationship between Mel and her mother is really well described. Mel's childhood was not a classic 'fairytale' but neither was it traumatic or particularly painful. They don't always see eye to eye and there are plenty of things which may have been done differently but there is no doubt of the love between them. Natasha is a wonderful villain. She knows what needs to be done to get to where she wants to be, she makes decisions and is loose with the truth to suit her circumstances. She's a character easy to dislike but not without a few redeeming features. I'm not going to talk too much about the plot development as I wouldn't want to ruin some of the twists and turns of the story for readers. What I will say is that I found it very easy to get into and once I was hooked that was it, I couldn't bare to stop. I love reading books set written with multiple narrators, I find having more than one perspective really helpful and in the case of The Pupil it is all too easy to say, 'I'll just read one more Mel chapter, ok no one more Natasha' and suddenly you've come to the end of a part (the story is split into three sections). I could easily see The Pupil as a televised drama and I think it will be a perfect read for anyone who enjoys a thrilling read with plenty of side plots. It is a great book for an afternoon in the garden or an evening in a bubbly bath (were we not in such strange Covid times I would recommend to go into your suitcase for the plane or by the pool but such is life currently).
Was this review helpful?
The Pupil is well researched with a good knowledge of legal systems, methods of career development, questioning technique and trial etiquette. However I found this more interesting than the actual plot line. 

Unfortunately what starts out like it may be quite thriller-esque (think Girl On A Train), quickly loses its way with the plot trailing off to nothing but filler to pad out the pages while building up to the big trial. 

I didn't particularly like either of the female lead characters. Both have their faults and are selfish and rude; one more so than the other. Mel wasnt the cut-throat barrister we see at the start, even going on to doubt her own ability and her own career success. She has her own morals and won't stoop to undermine them despite how they could work in her favour ... Until she does go against her morals after all! I found this frustrating as I didn't know if I was meant to be cheering for or against her! Natasha is awful. Selfish, narcissistic, dishonest, competitive, sneaky and conniving; she has zero redeeming features and I took an instant dislike to her. The best character was Jacob who had a very mature, responsible attitude despite his age and his mistakes. Luke is another good character but he's barely in it and he deserves a medal for putting up with his nightmare of a girlfriend. 

I'm giving The Pupil 3 stars as I do think there will be some people who would enjoy this book. It was just a bit flat for me. I expected more shocks and scandal but it just wasn't there. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Ros Carne and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
3-4 stars, while this was a decent thriller, fast paced, and easy to read, I don’t think it was quite a 5 star read!  It was well written and did provide the sought after components of thrillers, such as thrills, chills, shocks, but it was lacking something, holding me back from 4-5 or even a solid 5 star rating!  I do think most who love thrillers will enjoy reading this, it may not blow your mind, but you will be able to easily finish and do so while enjoying the pages!  I do recommend to those who are looking for a thriller to read!  
Will make sure to buzz it up on the platforms, plus use low Amazon reviewer number to review.
Was this review helpful?
# The Pupil # 
Well written book. A medium paced one. The actual storyline quite a good one if somewhat different. I actually think because it is so different makes it more enjoyable.. A lot of books are becoming so similar that some are now becoming, oh here we go again. Although this is in the same type of genre. It’s about having something extremely interesting and not done before, not thst I can remember. Similar one. But not quite like this. It’s refreshing. To read a altogether different aspect of a psychology thriller. Some have been on the same lines. I must admit. Yet well you will have to read to find out I will never put spoilers in any review. A well respected lawyer who’s having problems at hone. That are truly bothering her and she’s desperate to fix them if she cdn. So on top of everything she doesn’t want this trainee she’s says she’s been lumbered with Natasha. Natasha seems like a nice girl who watches Mel closely. She not really a nuisance in anyway she’s intelligent and she as picked up that Mel seems to have a few problems. Sio she tries not to bother Mel too much, also Natasha comes over as a quick learner. Mel actually does feel a little guilty she’s not giving Natasha as much help as she probably needs.
Was this review helpful?
This did what it said on the tin. It kept me engaged from beginning to end. It probably isn't something I'll remember in a year but it served it's purpose at the time and was enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?
The Pupil is a quick and easy read too while away the hours during lockdown. It is a gripping suspenseful drama that drew me in instantly with its striking cover and intriguing plot.

Ros has crafted a thrilling story that gives off a single white female vibe, that sees Mel the target of Natasha’s mind games and manipulation in her quest to take Mel down and ruin her life.

The story is told over two parts and the narration alternates between Mel and Natasha’s points of view. As the story progresses, the tension and suspense is ramped up, as does its sinister tone.

The characters are very believable in their roles and although I can’t say I was a fan of either Mel or Natasha, they are interesting characters. Ros has done a good job with them and they have been well developed. 

This is my first book from Ros and I really liked her style. She was able to keep my attention and kept me wanting to turn the pages to see how it would all unfold. I will be on the lookout for more of her work in the future.

All up The Pupil is a solid and enjoyable read and although it does lack a WOW factor ending, it still works. If you are a fan of the suspense drama genre, it is worth you giving this a read.

Thank you to NetGalley, Canelo and Ros Carne for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Pupil which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
A good read with some great characters. I think though that it is predictable in places and not quite believable in others.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
Was this review helpful?
Mel is an accomplished barrister with a complicated personal life including her son Jacob and an affair with married man Paul. In the midst of this she is given a pupil, Natasha, who appears very professional and efficient but has her own set of problems which threaten to unravel everyone.

I really enjoyed this story and did not find it too slow as others have mentioned. Instead it cleverly embeds us in the characters' lives and motivations with enough tension to keep us turning the pages.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book and will give it a huge thumbs up.  With a great story line and excellent main characters - I would highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Mel has practiced law for twenty years. She is well-regarded by her peers. Her clients are happy. But behind the scenes her life is disordered. Her son grows increasingly distant from her. When a trainee lawyer is allocated to Mel, it's poor timing. The last thing she needs is someone watching her every move. And Natasha does watch. She sees every detail and every mistake. 

Could Mel be right about Natasha and everyone else be wrong. Mel is paranoid as Natasha is quite young, a good barrister and she's ambitious. She's also had a colourful past. The story is told from both women's perspectives. This is a story of devious tactics and manipulation. Mel finds her life getting more complicated. I didn't like either of the two women. Part drama, part thriller, this is an enjoyable read. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Canelo and the author Ros Carne for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A book of revenge. Mel a practising lawyer for 20 years on the outside appears efficient, organised and successful. Her private life is falling apart, she is losing her son and involved with a married man. When she is allocated a trainee she is fearful of what Natasha will see. Natasha makes it her job to see and know everything. She wants things but Mel refuses to cooperate. Mel's secrets will surface. Who will be the winner in this?
Was this review helpful?
I love legal thrillers and this book did not disappoint me!  It seemed like it just flowed and was meant to be read in one sitting which is what happened!  If you like legal suspense, then you will love this!
Was this review helpful?
Firstly a big thank you to the publishers for approving my request to read on netgalley.

I believe this is the authors debut and its such a great book. If you enjoyed apple tree yard and blood orange then pick up this read.

Packed with suspense and anxious anticipation this is the epitome of female friendship and rivalry.

Cunning and sly, what is natasha really up to?

Tense and thrilling and will have you hooked.

Published 13th August.
Was this review helpful?
I never repeat the blurb. This was great. Unusual premise and well thought out and considered. Characters were interesting and credible. Only 4* due to slightly lack lustre ending.
Was this review helpful?
From reading the blurb this sounded like an interesting concept but it wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Overall I enjoyed the story but I really didn’t care for the main characters Mel and Natasha which meant it wasn’t quite as much of a page turner as I’d hoped. It would have worked better for me as a reader if I had liked one of them enough to get behind them and root for them to succeed.
Was this review helpful?
Mel has practised law for twenty years. She is well-regarded by her peers. Her clients are happy. But behind the scenes her life is disordered. Her son grows increasingly distant from her. The married man she is sleeping with fails to give her what she needs. When a trainee lawyer is allocated to Mel it is poor timing. The last thing she wants is a pupil watching her every move. And Natasha does watch. She sees each detail – and every mistake. Mel cannot shake the feeling that Natasha isn’t just learning the job. She is learning Mel. Natasha is good at getting what she wants, and now Mel has the power to give her all she desires. But when Mel chooses not to, Natasha knows just what Mel’s vulnerabilities are – and how to turn them against her. Mel’s secrets could ruin her. But who will be believed? 

As I started this I found myself addicted to the atmosphere that Carne creates. From very early on, there is a deliciously, thick and suspicious atmosphere to the read and this carries on for the whole book which was really good. However, to my disappointment, it did not really go anywhere. Carne really sets this book up well and then it falters and nothing really happens. I mean events do happen but they are nothing like what I was expecting, and I do not say this in a good way. 

Whilst reading this, it felt like Carne was setting up some really excellent plot twists. There are clues during the read that I thought were going to go somewhere dramatic and then nothing happened with them. It was really odd and meant the read lost all impact and originality. Then there is the length of this read, it is way too long, dramatically too long. There are whole sections that could be cut and the read would not be any worse. 

So I did not particularly enjoy the plot and found it very weak. But could the characters save this read? Well, sadly not. Mel and Natasha are incredibly unlikeable. I do not think I have anything good to say about them. I do think they are supposed to be these ruthless, ambitious characters but Carne does not give them a likeable factor to counter-balance this. Nor, is there another character I could cling onto. This read really suffered from a lack of likeable characters and people to root for. 

'The Pupil' is too long, too dull and does not have anything much to like about it. However, Carne does create an electric atmosphere, so there is one thing positive. It is just a real shame the atmosphere leads nowhere. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo for an advance copy.
Was this review helpful?
Mel has practised law for twenty years. She is well-regarded by her peers. Her clients are happy. But behind the scenes her life is disordered. Her son grows increasingly distant from her. The married man she is sleeping with fails to give her what she needs.

When a trainee lawyer is allocated to Mel it is poor timing. The last thing she wants is a pupil watching her every move. And Natasha does watch. She sees each detail – and every mistake. Mel cannot shake the feeling that Natasha isn’t just learning the job. She is learning everything there is to know about Mel.

Natasha is good at getting what she wants, and now Mel has the power to give her all she desires. But when Mel chooses not to, Natasha knows just what Mel’s vulnerabilities are – and how to turn them against her. Mel’s secrets could ruin her. But who will be believed?

I loved this book and I couldn’t read it quick enough – I was in that dilemma of wanting to know what happened, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end. The pages seemed to magically turn themselves over feeding my addiction of Natasha and Mel. 

The characters were very well written I hated Natasha from the first time she entered the story, and I had the urge to boo at her like a panto villain!! I wanted to protect Mel and her son Jacob and as for Isabel, I originally started to like her, and then got very cross with her, but perhaps I’m unforgiving!!!!

If I could give this 100 stars I would, it's the best book I've read this year and my favourite book I've read in a long, long time and I want to talk to everyone about it!! This would make a brilliant BBC drama!!!
Was this review helpful?
Ros Carne has an exquisitely charmIng writing skill that captivated me and made me just curl up and finish this book in two sessions.
Mel is a well established barrister with 20 years experience although her working life is on track her personal life is the exact opposite, a single mother of a 16 year old boy and a married lover do not bode well for her. To top it off she gets a pupil appointed to her for mentoring as part of the barrister training programme.
From the outset Mel is unhappy with this encumbrance in her life and I think slightly jealous of the over confident and capable Natasha. 
Natasha has her own agenda and watches everything Mel does but what lengths will she go to to get what she wants and who will suffer as a result. 
A good legal suspense thriller not to be missed.
Was this review helpful?
This book took me by surprise. It kept me interested throughout the story and I needed to see what was going to happen. I truly enjoyed the pacing of the story and the well written characters.  I would recommend this story to all.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Canelo for the ARC.

I found this an absolutely fascinating and engrossing read, though this wasn't so much a 'mystery/thriller', rather a sinister psychological drama.  It's well-written with really good characters and dialogue, but the story's multi- layering makes for a complex read needing a good level of concentration to join up all the dots.

Mel, a defence barrister at Bridge Court Chambers in London, has a Pupil, Natasha, foisted upon her when she could really do without it.  Her elderly mother really can't manage the large family home on her own; her son Jacob is a moody teenager who is increasingly distant with her, and her married lover Paul shows no sign of making a commitment to her.  But she's a talented and successful barrister and well-liked at Chambers.

Natasha is single-mindedly ambitious, bordering on the psychopathic.  She has a 'colourful' - to say the least - past; a penchant for shoplifting as well as adopting a younger profile on-line to interact with young men - all of which she treats as games - games to play and games to win. 

Mel now becomes the focus of Natasha's games.  She manipulates situations, lies and manages to insert herself into Mel's personal and family life, all of which nearly destroy Mel in the process, landing her on the wrong side of a courtroom.

Natasha is definitely not what she seems!
Was this review helpful?