I’m not quite sure why I requested this book when I saw it on NetGalley. I think I had something to prove, but, in hindsight, that may not have been such a smart idea. The thing you need to understand when you read this review is that I am a total wimp when it comes to scary stories. For some perspective, it took me until last year to work up the nerve to watch Silence of the Lambs, and, even then, I saw most of it through my fingers covering my eyes. I’m not ashamed to admit that I may have missed some dialogue, since there was also quite a bit of screaming, and hysterical cries like, “he’s going to eat his face off!!” The only Stephen King book I have read in my husband’s vast collection is 11/22/63, which is terrific, but sort of Stephen King lite – without the fear factor.
So, I guess I requested this ARC to prove to my Stephen King-loving, Hannibal Lector-watching, scary book-reading husband that I could handle it. I gleefully told him when I got the ebook, and then he went ahead and read it before me. When he finished, he simply looked at me and said, “There’s no way you’re going to be able to read this book.”
Having thrown down the gauntlet, I really had no choice. It’s bad enough I have to listen to “it puts the lotion in the basket” (in all of it's possible variations) a couple times every week; there is no way I could back down at this point. And so, I approached this book more as an act of courage, and less and less as what seemed like a choice. I was stunned to realize that I learned a few things when I finally braved the first couple chapters. First, scary stories are not as bad as scary movies, because you can close the book and walk away; or lock it in a drawer in the guest room. Not that I did that, but I’m just saying. Second, if a story is well written, I will love it; even if there are flesh-eating tapeworms, unknown contagions, highly suspect authorities, and demented teenagers trapped on an island.
So there, now, I’ve gone and said it. This book was awesome. I loved it. The characters were living, breathing, vibrant adults and teenagers who I cared about. I didn’t want to see any of them die, but I did not close my eyes, and I did not scream. Ok, well, nobody heard me scream. Maybe a few gasps, and definitely a lot of, “ew! Gross!” There were, in fact, many graphic details that I would have liked to skip over, but I didn’t want to miss anything; which is saying something for the hook the author had on me. Nick Cutter, or whoever wrote this story (there are theories), kept me on the edge of my comfy sofa (can’t read a book like this on a seat, someone could come up behind you) until the bitter end. But, in the end, I was not bitter at all. I was relieved that it was over, but happy to have taken this wild ride and survived.