Primary Genre(s): Horror, Thriller
Published: 26 Jun 2018 by William Morrow
Page count: 272
My Format: Audiobook via Overdrive
Would I recommend it: No
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2SiRXzj
My rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.
One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”
Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.
This was so far from a “masterpiece of terror and suspense” like the synopsis states that I barely know where to start. Let’s go straight to the pros and cons.
- The opening scene where Wen met Leonard outside was the only part in the entire book that was the least bit unsettling. It was a great set-up for what turned out to be, in my opinion, an epic fail.
- First off, the narration in this audiobook was horrible. The voice was stiff, whispery, robotic, and oddly flat.
- The pacing of this book was horrible. The bulk of the “scary story” was just a lot of talking – the bad guys trying to get the good guys to listen to what they had to say. It was like watching a negotiation to buy a car. It wasn’t scary or thrilling or psychological. It was boring and repetitive and it drove me nuts.
- Even when the action picked up (if you can call it action) it was still boring. Honestly, nothing happened in this book.
- There was no clear motivation for anyone’s actions. Nothing is really explained. If the vagueness was meant to make it scarier, it didn’t. What it did do is make me angry and question why I was continuing to read this book at all.
- Zero connection to the characters. Even Wen was held at arm’s length in the story and I couldn’t even connect with her. Honestly, I got to the point where I didn’t care what happened to any of them.
- This might have been better suited as a short story rather than a full-length novel because there were only about 30 pages in the book that were even remotely interesting… and even that amount is questionable. The story felt super padded and drawn out.
- The ending confirmed that I completely wasted my time on this book.
I almost gave up on this book about 40% in, but based on the praise and awards and accolades for this book and the author, I decided to plod on. I shouldn’t have. I disliked this book tremendously and seriously cannot recommend it. It is easily my most disappointing read of the year… heck, of the past several years.
I’m so frustrated with this book that I’m hesitant to read any other work from this author, although I’ve heard that A Head Full of Ghosts is fantastic. What do you think? Should I give Tremblay another try?
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