Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
on July 19, 2013
(If there were half-stars I would give it a 3.5)
This is an exceptionally strong story. The pacing was fair, the writing well above average, and it was chilling in all the right places. Some gore, but nothing that was gratuitous - just the right amount to convey the horror the characters encountered. Each character was delightfully unique, and brought their own flavor of humanity to the tale in ways that were both deep and appropriately shallow, with a wonderful level of consistency that marks the author's talent and insight.
My one character reservation was with the daughter. I haven't read many stories that attempt to tell sequences through the eyes of a four-year old, but this one strained credibility at times. However, even when it strayed close to the line, it never fully crossed into something I couldn't believe of a precocious four-year-old.
As the story unfolds, each piece of the mystery that gets filled in adds to the anticipation of getting to the end and keeps you turning pages to see what happens next. It leaves you wondering for just long enough to keep it suspenseful, but never so long that you get frustrated.
The end of the story fell somewhat flat for me, though, which could possibly be my general inexperience with the horror genre. All the build-up and anticipation led to a resoundingly fast-paced finale, one in which you could feel everyone's desperation for survival. Each character struggles, and you /want/ to see them succeed regardless of the odds - or at least I did, which caused me to feel let-down at times. To put other words to it, there was almost too much hope and not enough despair, which left me at a loss rather than satisfied when I got to the last page.
That said, the book was an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a well-constructed plot from a very gifted writer. The short-comings are merely my sense of the book, and its strengths in suspense, characterization, plot, and vividness are more than enough reason for any reader to give it a chance.