Room 702 is the story of Emma, a Spanish accountant, who has somewhat of a one night stand with John Davies, a famous British actor. Not usually one to swoon at the sight of a celebrity, Emma is surprised when she not only feels attracted to John, but also feels that the two of them share an instant connection. She can’t stop thinking about him after their night together, but it’s hard to build a lasting relationship with someone whose work keeps him away for months at a time.
Honestly, this is an enjoyable book, but it’s nothing new. Every conversation, every plot line, every character quirk has been done to death. The entire book is cliche after cliche – which isn’t automatically a bad thing. The writing was lively enough to keep me going, but I still had the whole book figured out by approximately page 30.
The biggest thing for me was probably the characters and the strong dislike that I felt for most of them. Nobody was particularly likable, including the two main characters. Emma’s incessant whining, complaining, and clinginess was exhausting. John was a jerk, regardless of his charismatic jokes or generous gifts. Emma’s friends were offensive and annoying, and Emma’s mother was obviously written to be hated – only tolerable in the presence of small children. The only character I found remotely likable (and even he had to grow on me) was Leo, a mutual friend of Emma and John.
But even though I disliked the characters and could predict literally everything that happened, I still more or less enjoyed this book. I feel that the quality of the translation was a big reason for this. As someone with a degree in both Spanish and Linguistics, who has done translations for fun and for grades, I have to give this translator a big pat on the back for avoiding all the telltale signs of a translated work.
Final rating: somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars
Room 702 is currently available to Read Now on Netgalley. Goodreads also has 20 copies available in a giveaway that closes on August 18.
For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #44: a book that was originally written in another language.