Those who know me know that my favorite author of all time is none other than the Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie. Christie has been outsold by only the Bible and Shakespeare; she is, without a doubt, the best-selling novelist of all time. I only discovered her writing about a year ago, but I haven't been able to put down one of her novels ever since. As a lover of the mystery, suspense, and thriller genres, I am very hard to please. However, Christie had never failed to astonish me... until now. I recently finished one of her most famous reads, one which she had described as one of her "personal favorites" and was completely let down with the ending, the writing, and even the characters. Because of this, I decided I would write a complete review rating the Agatha Christie books I've read: from my absolute favorite to my personal disappointment. Despite this, there is no doubt she continues to be my favorite. I like to think that the last read was just not for me. Let me know if you have read any of these or which others you recommend. If you haven't picked up an Agatha Christie mystery, put it on your bucket list.
1. Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot #24)
Rating: 5 Stars
This book is my favorite Christie novel for many reasons, but to my surprise, it's rated 3.96 on Goodreads. Five Little Pigs features my favorite detective of all time, Hercule Poirot, and it is a brilliant example of character development. The moment I was introduced to the characters, I immediately felt like I knew them. Also, Agatha Christie amazed me at how vividly I could see the book playing out as I read each page. Throughout the novel, the only words I could think were "who did it?" and the ending truly came as a surprise. If you want to indulge in a classic whodunit, this is the book for you.
2. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10)
Rating: 4 Stars
I fell in love with Murder on the Orient Express very quickly. The book takes place on a train, and so when a man is stabbed to death in his cabin, tensions rise quickly. Just when you think you've figured out the killer, Christie makes you wonder if it's the right choice. Suspicion falls on every character, and that's why when the ending is revealed, readers can't help but to be completely taken aback. In my opinion, the ending was difficult to come to terms with. I should probably work at suspending my disbelief.
3. And Then There Were None
Rating: 4 Stars
And Then There Were None is one of the best books I've read so far, but because it was my first Christie novel, I've considered that I may have taken it for granted. Looking back now, I'm sure I could've enjoyed it more if I paid closer attention. In all honesty, there were times I found it a bit difficult to read and keep up with. Regardless, the story line was clever; it gave readers a pure sense of suspense and mystery. No one is safe, not even the audience. The ending of this book was also quite surprising, but because I struggle with suspending my disbelief, I didn't enjoy it as much as others have.
4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4)
Rating: 4 Stars
This novel is, in my opinion, one of Christie's most cunning reads. Despite this, I didn't really enjoy The Murder of Roger Ackroyd until halfway through the story. I attribute this to the fact that although it was in the Poirot series, we didn't see the story through Poirot's perspective. Because Poirot is my favorite of Christie's characters, this put me off a bit. Regardless, this novel is definitely one that gets better as the story grows in depth. Christie never fails to paint a clear picture and create fascinating characters. All I can say is that the ending makes this book worthwhile.
5. Crooked House
Rating: 3 Stars
The most disappointing Christie book I've read up to date is Crooked House. I sure hope it stays that way. While reading, I constantly waited for it to hook me, for that pivotal moment where it sucks you in. I never felt that way at all. The ending was quite predictable, and the characters were, in my opinion, ordinary. I finished this book out of a sense of duty, but I would not recommend it to anyone else. Crooked House simply didn't feel like the genius that is Agatha Christie. I hope I never feel like that again.
Other Agatha Christie books that are on my to read list:
I completed the Harry Potter series years ago while I was still in middle school, and I've spent life since then being fascinated by the magic and joy the characters and storyline continue to bring me and so many others. A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to reread them and see how my experience would be almost ten years later. Knowing this, my family bought me the book set for Christmas. I was so overjoyed; a part of me knew I was in for another adventure. I have to mention that this time around, the books were even more amazing than the first time I read them. Rereading them in my twenties and enjoying them even more proves that this series is so much more than children's fantasy. J.K. Rowling was writing to a much larger audience than she was aware of, and that shows how powerful her writing and imagination truly are. The following review is ranked based on my personal liking and interpretation of the series. While I love all seven books, there's no doubt I love some more than others.
7. The Goblet of Fire
At the bottom of the list is my least favorite book of the series: the Goblet of Fire. While this book is an essential piece of the series, thus marking the official return of the Dark Lord, I just wasn't a fan of the concept of the Triwizard Tournament. Nonetheless, the fourth book offers shocking plot twists and a great and heartbreaking ending. The Goblet of Fire is a roller coaster of suspense, relief, and then complete disbelief. I love all seven books, but since I have to pick, this just isn't at the top of my list.
6. Sorcerer's Stone
Many people disagree with the fact that the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone is at the bottom of my list. I can't argue that this is one of the most magical books in the series. It's the beginning of our adventure, and what makes us, Harry Potter fanatics, fall in love with the wizarding world. The introductions of Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, and so many other characters into the series will always be iconic. That's what makes the Sorcerer's Stone the beginning of a magical ride. In spite of this, I've never been able to get over the fact that the villain was under Quirrell's turban the whole time; the concept seemed a little silly to me.
5. Chamber of Secrets
Before reading the books a second time around, the Chamber of Secrets was at the top of my list. I enjoyed the plot twist that Rowling provided, and I also loved the battle scene between Harry, Tom Riddle, and the infamous basilisk. However, after rereading the books ten years later, I simply couldn't put this at the top. While readers find out later in the series that the diary is a horcrux, in Harry's second year, we can't understand how a diary could turn out to be the villain. This made the ending a little childish and difficult to accept. Regardless, this book is still enjoyable and impossible to put down.
4. Order of the Phoenix
Before rereading the books, the Order of the Phoenix had been my favorite of the series. This book is where we come to understand that there is truly something uniting Voldemort and Harry, and although this isn't confirmed until later in the series, it comes in handy (saving Arthur's life) but it also comes at a cost (the loss of Sirius). This book truly is an emotional rollercoaster; there's no denying that it's one of the hardest to read. It's difficult to swallow the fact that no one believes Harry; this only makes his temper worse and creates a lot of tension between him and other characters. It's also difficult to come to terms with how powerful Umbridge becomes; in my opinion, she's one of the most evil characters in the Harry Potter series. Regardless, there's no doubt that the Order of the Phoenix is a pivotal moment. Dumbledore's Army is formed; through this we see the strength of the students at Hogwarts. Oh and did I mention that the Battle of the Department of Mysteries is one of the best fight scenes in the series?
3. Deathly Hallows
There's no doubt that the Deathly Hallows deserves a spot on the top of the list. This book provides readers with all the feelings we could possibly know and want. By the end of the series we've laughed, cried, and everything in between. The deaths of Fred, Dobby, Tonks, and Lupin bring so much pain and shock that by the end of the series it feels like Rowling has eliminated almost all the characters that made this series the magic adventure that it is. Despite this, we also get to witness the deaths of Voldemort and Bellatrix, and as readers, we can finally say the words "it's about time." Deathly Hallows is the end of an amazing journey. It gives readers an immense sense of closure and almost leaves us all wishing there was more. Oh, did I forget to mention that Ron and Hermione finally kiss?
2. Half-Blood Prince
The Half-Blood Prince is, in my opinion, one of the best books in the series. Many complain that there isn't enough "sitting at the edge of your seat" action throughout the whole novel, but I think that's one of the reasons it's at the top of my list. This one lets you focus on the characters instead of the darkness even if it's just for a small while. Nonetheless, the Half-Blood Prince is definitely a warning that war is on the brink. You can see this in the way Slughorn is affected by his memory of Tom Riddle. You can see this in the way that Draco struggles with himself throughout the book. And of course, you can see this in Snape's compliance with Dumbledore's plans. At the time that one first finishes the Half-Blood Prince, it's extremely difficult (and yet not at all) to believe that Snape could be capable of killing Dumbledore. Of course, at the end of Death Hallows, we find out that Dumbledore was right to trust him all along. However, as a first timer, it's impossible to come to terms with this "betrayal." Dumbledore's death comes as an immense blow... one that leaves you thinking "this can't be real."
1. Prisoner of Azkaban
I had never cared much for the Prisoner of Azkaban, but after rereading the series I know I was absolutely wrong. This is my favorite book, and in my opinion, the best novel in the entire series. The use of the Time-Turner and the introduction of Sirius and Lupin into the series made this one to remember. No book has a more shocking turn of events than those that occur in the Prisoner of Azkaban inside the Shrieking Shack. This book had me on edge the last 200 pages; I could not put it down (even though I already knew the ending).
Have you read the HP series? Which are your favorites? Let me know down in the comments below!