The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.
The prize: enough money to change everything.
Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.
It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.
But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.
Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
This was pretty disappointing, it wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t in love with it. I was super excited when I heard Kiersten White was releasing an adult thriller/horror book. I’m kind of torn between 2.5 stars and 3 because as I said I didn’t completely hate it but at the same time I was waiting for the book to end and I have a feeling this won’t be a very memorable reading experience for me. So thus I think I’ll stick with 2.5 as the rating.
The overall premise sounds great, right? A hide and seek competition in a creepy, abandoned amusement park should have been a great setting for either some creepy, eerie atmosphere or some exciting thrills. However, I feel that the direction it ended up going in ended up feeling really strange and unsatisfying. I did like the setting well enough at the start but by the end I was tired of it.
Without going into too much spoiler territory I did like the antagonists, I’ll say, but again they started off great and actually kind of scary but in the end it was just kind of “eh” and they felt pretty empty and one dimensional. I loved the build up initially, it was suspenseful and the mystery of the competition and the “seekers” was enough to get me really pumped up and wanting to know more, but once I got the explanation I wasn’t really into it anymore. I think this was due to the world building in general being kind of weak, like the reveal was just disappointing and once you knew the information it wasn’t interesting anymore.
I think the major downfall of this novel was the 14 different characters and POVs. I think it would have had greater potential if this aspect would have been taken away. That’s just way too many characters for a book that’s only 256 pages long. They were all so one dimensional it wasn’t even funny, it just made it all the less concerning when characters were gone, I didn’t care because they had no personalities, no stories, no development. If there had been slightly less characters and slightly more pages I think I could have been made to care a little bit more.
Also we didn’t even have POV shifts with chapters or any kind of announcement, you’d just be reading through pages from Mack’s POV at one point and then suddenly with no indication you’d be reading from Brandon’s POV. It was madness! And two characters had the same name! Ava and Ava. I mean it was already confusing enough and then it was a little grating to have to have characters refer to one as “Other Ava” or “Beautiful Ava” or “Buzzed Ava” because of her hair. It was just completely unnecessary.
Then with the characters that did get more page time I still couldn’t really be bothered to care because their back stories were so vague and boring. Mack, who I’d consider to be the “main” character, with her back story it felt super flat and like a really easy, not fleshed out answer to why she acts a certain way. It didn’t add value to her character or the story in my opinion because it was just such a quick “Oh she acts this way because __________ happened to her”. Is that all there is to her personality then? Nothing else she thinks about, cares about, or likes? That can’t possibly be all but that’s what it felt like. Her attitude did get to wearing pretty thinly on me too, she wasn’t remotely likable so it was hard to root for her at all.
If it was even possible to “like” any of these one dimensional characters then I will say that I at least enjoyed “Buzzed” Ava, LeGrand, and Brandon. Again, there wasn’t much development with any of them but you have to latch on to some characters at some point in a story!
There is a pretty brief F/F romance which was a nice effort, but because the characters themselves were so under developed it felt super abrupt and out of nowhere.
The whole point to a horror type book is that you’re supposed to care about the characters when bad things happen to them, otherwise you don’t care and the emotion just isn’t there while reading. That’s why I enjoy reading horror, I like to be completely invested. This book did not have that so it was just overall a let down.
What I Liked:
- Abandoned Amusement Park Setting, at the beginning
- Initial drive to know what was going on, page turner
- It was, at least, a quick read at only 256 pages
What I Didn’t Like:
- 14 POVs
- Abrupt POV changes
- No character development
- Overall plot was messy
- Weak world building
Overall I’d say this book had a great concept but poor execution. It was unsatisfying to read through and was just kind of messy. Which was super disappointing considering Kiersten White is an amazing author and I do enjoy some of her other books, this one was just not for me.
Trigger Warnings: Murder, Child Murder, Death, Suicide, Gore, Violence, Sexism, Classism, Ableism, Racism, Homophobia, PTSD
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Shame… oh well… onto the next read, which hopefully will be 5/5 stars!
I’ve heard a lot of disappointed opinions about this book. Everyone expected it to be amazing. I suppose i will skip it. Sorry it turned out not as good as you hoped!