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Eden Green Paperback – February 25, 2016
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Top customer reviews
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This book is incredibly frustrating to read, not due to any lack of skill on the author's part, but due to the two major characters that seem hell-bent on ruining Eden's life and sanity. If it isn't enough that aliens are invading, being infected with (non-magical) nanotech that replaces dead tissue up to and including the brain might be enough to drive them all off the deep end. Eden has to find a way to save Earth (with science!) while being constantly beset by manipulation, conflict, murder, amnesia, and maybe a little alien-induced psychopathy.
I consider this to be a skilled depiction of body horror and intensely psychological internal narration. Don't read if you abhor graphic violence, because oh boy is the violence graphic. I felt my own neck was breaking.
Full disclosure: I wrote this review because I felt guilty for getting it for free from the author. This is my honest opinion and may be skewed by my eclectic and indiscriminate taste.
It's an extremely fast-paced book and while I initially thought it would be too short at ~150 pages, it turned out to be the equivalent of a 500 page novel packed into a shorter book. I was sucked in by the interactions between the characters from the very first pages and I felt rage, sympathy, love, and disgust for each of the three main characters at different points of the story. Unusually, I learned more about the characters through how the others' reactions rather through the behaviors of the people themselves. I suspect it's due to how insane and bizarre their situations are that I was swept up in the flow of the story and couldn't take the time to consider my own reactions. To me, they are real deeply flawed people.
As a warning, there are fairly gory scenes, but the real horrifying parts of the book are the descriptions of mental trauma. Fiona has managed to make being insane, amnesic, or sociopathic viscerally terrifying instead of being a clinical concern associated with the diagnosis of a mental disorder.
Favorite parts are when Eden is striving to learn all she can about what is happening to her and using logical reasoning to work around her questionable emotional stability. Worse parts is how the story is so intensely focused on these three people. Despite an event with world-wide consequences, there is very little interaction with other people (two scenes). But that's a manner of personal preference.
Hands down, this story defines the meaning of "Rational Horror".
Now if only I could figure out what Veronica's secret is!
There is a lot of violence.
There is a lot of gore.
There is a lot of body horror.
There are a lot of existentially terrifying concepts.
There's this one huge ****ing spider, holy ****, keep that thing away from me.
If you're okay with that stuff, this is one hell of a book. The characters are engaging, the setting pulls you in, and you'll want answers. Character development is a big part of the draw, so it's hard to give a good snapshot of this story without spoilers, but I'll try.
Eden's friend Ron has a history of finding abusive boyfriends, so when she hasn't heard anything from Ron in a few days, she gets worried. Finally Ron contacts her, vaguely and concerningly, with a message asking Eden to meet up with her.
Turns out Ron died, mauled by a strange otherworldly creature. Whoops. It was okay though, because her new friend Tedrin saved her with the strange parasite his blood contains, and in the process of bringing her back to life granted her incredible healing abilities. Tedrin and Ron use this ability to fight the otherworldly creatures that have recently begun infesting the uninhabited parts of the city.
The whole thing gives Eden the willies, but she's naturally inquisitive and cautiously accepts an offer from Tedrin to track down these creatures. Sure, Tedrin is an unnerving guy, but she has to observe and find out more about the creatures, the bloodborne abilities, and most importantly whether or not Tedrin is just another abusive loser who's going to make Ron's life hell. So in the process of checking out what's up, Eden finds indications that there's more to what's going on than strange creatures just showing up, gets some serious "Tedrin is ****ed up" vibes, and gets infected by the parasitic needle blood. WHOOPS.
So there's a summary of the first few chapters. **** gets pretty real, pretty quick.
Now Eden can't die, at least physically, but she's not very happy about it. The remainder of the book explores the different approaches Eden, Ron, and Tedrin take to being immortal and trapped in a strange eldritch horrorshow. The whole story is from the point of view of an inquisitive and fairly terrified Eden, who tries to hold onto her sanity and sense of self by diving headfirst into finding out what's REALLY happening before more innocents are infected by the needle blood, or eaten by packs of awful, hungry, spiny, spindly beasts. Or both. It's kind of a lose-lose scenario.
Disclaimer: I was one of the beta readers/feedback grunts for the story. Double Disclaimer: I'm not being compensated in any way for writing the review, I just really liked the book. Triple Disclaimer: Seriously, read the damn story so that you can question what "your identity" really means, the nightmares that come from that are pretty top-notch.
Most recent customer reviews
Things start off very confusingly with a protagonist who never really seems to want to share her...Read more
I very much enjoyed this story.Read more