Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 268
A Mixed Bag
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I Loved:

From the first page, Kadrey creates a dark, eerie atmospheric tension that permeates the entire novel. Fans of the creepy and the strange will love the way the world within the novel becomes increasingly surreal and off-balance. The world building is detailed and fascinating, and the mythology is unique. Readers will be captivated by the ghost world beneath our world, and the anticipation of what will happen next will keep them turning pages.

What Left Me Wanting More:

While the mythology is captivating, and the ghost world is incredibly fascinating, I often felt a little bit lost visually in the scenes. There were moments when in my head the character would be climbing stairs, but in the next sentence, she would be opening a door she'd just come through. I also felt like I couldn't get my bearings in the action scenes, or that I was told of Zoe's feelings/reactions long after the moment had passed, and then I had to go back and revise my reading experience of that scene.

I also had a hard time connecting fully with Zoe. There are some fabulous aspects to her character--her anxiety, her history of self-injury, and her tense relationship with her mother--that all rang true for me. But then Zoe encounters her first brush with the supernatural element in the book and simply takes a stranger's word as truth rather than react with doubt or ridicule or suspicion. I found her lack of doubt hard to believe. I also had difficulty accepting some of the decisions she made. She did things like yell at a character when she knew she was being hunted by creatures who could track her by sound, or she'd make a smart decision, and then instantly reverse it with something foolish that put her directly in danger. It began to feel like either Zoe wasn't as intelligent as I'd been led to believe, or like the author needed to keep having her do foolish things so that the plot could progress. When she saves the day by accident instead of by making conscious, intelligent choices, I was disappointed.

Final Verdict:

Readers who love taut, atmospheric ghost stories and don't need to fully connect with the main character will enjoy this unusual story.
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