I'm a fierce book lover, mainly of YA, and here's where I'll share my thoughts and impressions on whatever I pick up next.
This book is exactly what my Halloween night tradition with my boyfriend, siblings and friends is all about. Horrible and painfully predictable slasher/mystery/horror movies full of cliches and stereotyped characters, with no structure or brains to the plot. It's stupid and silly; you know it, I know it, we all know it, but there's a part of us that still enjoy them regardless of how predictable and silly they are. That alone is why I gave it 2 stars, because if I were to be completely honest, this book would get a very lonely star. This book entertained me and, quite truthfully, I couldn't stop reading. But it was so bad, just so, so, so very bad.
There's nothing particularly original about this novel. Anyone keeping track of the slasher movies to hit theaters since the early 90's will no doubt be able to identify the murderer as soon as the characters show up and they will have a clear idea of how the story will progress. Mysterious setting? Check. No power or way to communicate with the outside world? Check. Freaky DVD that came out of nowhere? Check. Group of every teenage stereotype you can think of? Check. Protagonist that seems to be the only one equipped with a half-functioning brain, but is shy and pure and such a good friend that she lets others walk all over her, especially her best friend? Check. Super hot guy no one can resist? Check. Freaky, black-haired girl with mysterious ties to everyone in the house? Check and checked. Horrible jokes and time for insensitive comments and hookups in spite of the tower of bodies next to them? Girl ruining her life because one freaking guy did not pay attention to her? Oh, you know the answer to those two.
The writing is uninspiring and fails miserably to set a good and believable suspenseful mood for the story. I was laughing and rolling my eyes about five times per page. The whole setup was too far-fetched right from the start. The story is horribly, almost painfully predictable and I honestly can't say I felt bad for any of the characters getting killed. What's worse, some characters were constructed in a way so that you wouldn't feel so bad about them getting killed, which really hurts the overall point of a novel about a bunch of people getting killed off. If you care about no one in there, if some of them you would actually be glad about being offed, then what's the point in a novel like this? One of the few good things I can say about the book is that, freaking finally, we have a black guy who's the one that's wanted and not the bestie of the main love interest. That was a really refreshing change that I truly appreciated.
I was really looking forward to this novel. I previously read, loved and reviewed here the author's first book Possess, so I know McNeil can write and can manage suspense and creepiness very well, so my expectations for this one were very high. As you can see, though, I was sorely disappointed. But, if I had to say one thing in defense for the book is that I was entertained at least for a few hours.