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Ten Hardcover – September 18, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-A beach house, 10 teenagers, no parents, and the promise of a weekend-long party: friends Meg and Minnie embrace the exclusive invitation, despite the fact that neither of the girls is close to the host. But a storm is brewing on Henry Island. The wind is howling, the rain is pouring, and the local ferry won't be back until morning. Then people start dying. A creepy DVD warns the teens of their imminent demise, and red hash marks on the wall tally the deaths as the guests' guilty secrets are exposed and they're picked off one by one. In the end, it is up to Meg to save herself and figure out who is killing her friends and why. Though character development and motivation are a bit weak, McNeil's novel nicely parallels Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None (originally titled Ten Little Indians in the United States), and is likewise a quick-paced thriller full of half-facts and red herrings that take readers through the twists and turns of a deadly weekend. While it might not be considered an amazing teen mystery, among the numerous adaptations and stories that borrow from Christie's 1939 novel, McNeil's book holds its own.-Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After years of living on the fringes of the Seattle high-school social scene, Meg and Minnie are finally making a comeback. At an exclusive house party on a remote island with their mutual crush T. J., emotionally fragile Minnie is thrilled, but her protector, introverted writer Meg, is leery, and with good reason. As soon as they meet the other eight guests, things are amiss. The hostess never arrives. The only DVD bears an eerie, foreboding message. The electricity goes out. And then Lori is found hanging from the rafters. As the bodies begin to pile up and clues appear, Meg searches for the killer among them. In the esteemed tradition of teen horror fiction, Ten hits all the high notes: a stormy night, illicit liaisons, cut phone lines, suspicious disappearances, double-crosses, secret histories, and plenty of twists. Though most of the short-lived characters are one-dimensional by necessity, Meg is sympathetic and complex enough to cheer for as she pieces together the nightmare weekend and tries to escape alive. Grades 8-11. --Heather Booth
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“You’re going to have fun this weekend if it kills me.”
I never read And Then There Was None, I meant to and now I’m a bit sad that I read this one first. I think this book is going to make Christie’s masterpiece less enjoyable when I finally do. It seems that a less “high school” version would suit this set up better and I’m sure most people agree with that for the acclaim the original version received.
The characters in Ten are…annoying bastards, pardon my French. I guess in a book like this you’re supposed to dislike the characters. It aims to make you wish they would die and makes you happy in a strange way when they do. But I feel like I should have cared about the characters more. I think if I cared about anyone who died I would’ve been sucked into the story and enjoyed it more. Don’t get me wrong it was a fun read, and I read it in one sitting but I still think some components could have been improved.
The speech and behaviors in the book were aggravating at first. I know I should’ve read it and been like well duh, they’re young and they sleep around and party and fight. But it was off putting, it made me feel like I was back in high school dealing with the petty drama I hated. (Maybe I need to just stop reading YA books if that annoys me.)
So all in all it was a decent book, interesting enough that I never wanted to actually stop reading it but at the same time I cringed at parts. (The guy who constantly said dude, especially.) Maybe I’ll get around to Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None and the plot will feel less childish, more warranted.
Also if you liked this book at all definitely give the movie, 9 dead a try. It’s one of my favorites.
I thought the writing in this book was not groundbreaking, but it was still pretty solid. I liked that this book was really fast paced, which enabled me to finish it in two days. With this book only taking place over 3 days, a lot seems to happen and I never felt like the book was dragging at all. I would not particularly call this book scary, but it was pretty gory. It did have descriptions of dead bodies and deaths, so if that bothers you, then steer clear of this book.
I LOVED the plot of this book, and although it was full of campy horror film clichés, but I still really enjoyed it. I didn’t see a lot of plot holes in the story and I thought that McNeil really thought out how the book would play out. In many horror books and novels, I find that characters make rash decisions or are deliberately put into harms way to add more killings, but I never found that in this book. The characters seemed to think situations through and made realistic choices when trying to escape or discover who the killer was.
The main reason why I did not enjoy the book was the characters. I never really connected to any of them and did find them annoying. The only characters I somewhat liked was Meg, T.J., Kumiko, and Gunner. The rest got on my nerves and drove me crazy, especially Minnie. I felt that the depth within the characters was very superficial and never delved any deeper. I wish that McNeil would have added more information about each character (at least the main ones) that made me fearful for their survival, but instead, I really didn’t care if they lived or died.
The only thing I kind of liked about the characters was the relationship between Minnie and Meg, which might seem weird for some. Initially I found their relationship annoying and questioned why they were even friends, but then I thought back to when I was 16-17 years old and found I could relate better. With Minnie suffering from bipolar disorder, I could understand why she was such an unlikable character. With Minnie's bipolar disorder on top of teenage hormones, it is understandable why she was so selfish, erratic, paranoid, and emotional. I also understood how Meg felt indebted to Minnie for being her friend and sacrificing her friendships to continue a relationship with her. While I found their relationship annoying, at the end, I did feel a little pang of sorrow for them.
The ending of this book was spoiled for me before I even cracked the first page. In fact, it was spoiled for me right when I received the book. I ordered this book right when it was released (2012) and then was spoiled so I waited…and waited….and waited to see if I could forget who the killer was, but I never could. So, I can’t really say if I could guess who the killer was because I already knew going into the book. I don’t think it was blatantly obvious, but I know some reviewers said that they guessed who it was right away. However, I did think that the reason for the killings was really obvious and I guessed the majority of that portion.
Overall, I did somewhat enjoy this book, but the characters made me not love it. I think this book could be enjoyable to a certain audience, but it is not for everyone. If you enjoy campy horror films and are okay with predictability, I would give this book a chance. However, I do suggest checking out McNeil’s other books, because everything she has written sounds really interesting and I look forward to reading her other book, Possesses, which I have already purchased.