I have been on a reading spree of sort and every once in a while I will stumble on a book that looks interesting from the blurb but falls flat on the face once read. One such book is this.
So, Wen is an eight year old girl who is vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake with her dads – Eric and Andrew. The story opens with her playing around with grasshoppers when a stranger who introduces himself as Leonard comes over. At first they have a chat but soon few other strangers find their way towards them which leaves Wen uneasy. Dropping the bomb is Leonard who says, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault” which is easily a cliffhanger.
Next we are introduced to Eric and Andrew having a banter amongst themselves but soon Wen comes towards them almost hysterical and scared. Leonard and three others have made their way towards the cabin they are staying in. For the next few chapters its all about these dialogues, “Let us in”, “We wont hurt you”, “Let us explain” and then the next bombshell, “its a matter of saving the world”.
Are you hooked in yet? For around hundred pages and more this goes on and on including when the four strangers finally manage to get in and tie Wen’s dads to a chair. There we get a mild explanation of why they are here – something about an apocalypse and a vision they all shared. Soon it becomes obvious that if Wen, Eric and Andrew don’t do as they request, not only will the world end but these strangers themselves will kill each other one by one. Why? Because they have “No choice”. This goes on till the end.
In between we get plenty of disturbing scenes including violence and conversations between the strangers. The author definitely tries to keep a tense atmosphere throughout but fails at convincing the reader.
I was beyond disappointed with the book. It reminded me of some open ended movies, but this was different. I had little to imagine with. The four strangers could have been metaphors for The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. But other than their visions nothing else seemed urgent or created suspense. The dialogues were constantly repeated and the characters felt flat. What began as promising felt like an April fool’s joke. Perhaps its a style of storytelling and I get that, and there are books where nothing happens yet the author conjures something out of nothing but here everything feels like a ploy to turn the pages.
In the end I feel like I wasted a good few hours on a book I could have skipped. Despite average ratings on Goodreads I decided to give it a shot because I trusted some of the reviews but what maybe true for them wasn’t for me.
Pros: Has potential, keeps you on edge, LGBTQ representation was refreshing
Cons: Characterisation, Storyline, pacing
Bibliogyan Verdict – If you are not curious enough, skip it.