I finished this on friday, and I’ve needed a few days to digest it.
This is going to be a tricky book to review. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because it leaves you with more questions at the end then when you start.
The Cabin at the End of the World (Release Date: June 26th, 2018)
The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.
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.
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I have so many questions! Mainly, What? Why? And WTF????
There was quite a lot of buzz about this book upon its release. Some good, some bad, but enough to make me very curious about it. Admittedly, I have never read anything by this author so maybe I was jumping into the deep end, but I needed to find out for myself because the premise was just too good to pass up.
Firstly, the characters, I loved them. Especially little “Wen”. The domestic picture depicted at the start of the story is lovely, and very realistic. Having a modern family of two dads and their little girl was refreshing and I’d love to see more of this in contemporary lit.
“Wen” is such a gorgeous creature. Inquisitive, smart, and instantly lovable, she quickly became my favourite. Her conversation when she meets “Leonard”, really shows us the depth of her personality, and it is through this dialogue that we get to know her and even Leonard, without having the luxury of time to further develop these characters. Very well done by the author.
It doesn’t take long for the story to go from sweet and idyllic to horrific and violent, but there’s enough to provide the reader with a shocking juxtaposition. And trust me, it’s a very shocking transition.
Character development continues through dialogue and inner monologues, without overtaking the main story. Again, the author does this extremely well. Not an easy task but he clearly has a talent for this.
Next, the story!
As I mentioned, the transition is both quick and shocking, and the story kept me rooted to the spot, my brain bouncing from one thing to another trying to absorb what was going on, and what was going to happen next. It was intense! The paranoia, the violence, and of course, wondering all the while if “this” was real. Are these visitors/ hostage takers telling the truth?
Another thing I will say, is that nobody is safe in this story. There are no familiar tropes to comfort the reader, and you won’t be able to guess what happens next. There was one moment in the story where I realized this (If you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m referring to), and I was like, “Wow! Anything goes!”.
The story as a whole, is an apocalypse tale like no other I’ve read before and it is positively riveting. That said, there were things I did not like about the story, and had me wanting to throw my Kobo in frustration, especially the ending!
It’s not a bad ending by any means, but it left me feeling frustrated and baffled. I think that was the point though. I think the author wants the reader to have questions about what happens next, or if any of it was even real. Regardless of your opinion of this book, you will be thinking about long after you close the book.
As, I said, this is a very difficult book to review but I will say, that I’m glad I read it.