So what’s the fuss with R.L. Stine’s first adult novel? I read a lot of the reviews found on the web and it was down the middle, love or hate. While there were some aspects of the story I didn’t like and found less compelling, I think Stine did a great job in the adult genre. I wouldn’t necessarily call this book “horror” persay, but it did have the gore and “creepy kids” type vibe. I was surprised of the paranormal twist with Sammy (one of the twins in the book) and that was refreshing to read. The book was long with 430 pages but it was a quick read nonetheless…which makes me give it four stars off that alone but sadly, it dropped to three due to lack of character development. No one wants to read a terrible book with 400+ pages, right? Luckily, the book felt like it was 300 pages and easy to get through. I enjoyed the characters in the book (albeit, they didn’t have super developed back stories). Ready for synopsis? Ok, let’s get to it.
Lea, wife and mother of two children is an adventure blogger on vacation to an island known for its weird happenings. While on the island she sees some of the weird practices done there and aches to write about it. Before she is able to do so, a hurricane shatters the island, killing many of the locals. While on a beach, Lea sees two abandoned boys that look lonely and yearning for a family. She decides to bring these children back with her against her husbands better wishes. The boys are extrememly strange (they speak in an odd dialect) and they seem to be hell bent on “ruling the school”. After a while strange things occur around the town and in their home. Lea’s husband, Mark, is brought up on multiple murder charges and everyone scrambles to find some bit of normalcy. When everyone finds out what’s really happening, they can’t believe what they are seeing until it’s too late.
My likes and dislikes? I disliked that Roz, Mark’s sister, was useless throughout the book. She was the nanny that was never there, she wasn’t the supportive friend or sister and she didn’t bring anything interesting to the story. I thought she was a waste of a good character or at least an opportunity to add another layer. I liked that Elena and Ira (the two biological children) were written very well and their voices came through clearly. Lea was a nutcase and I fought the urge to shake the hell, excuse me, the life out of her every few pages. Mark, he had at least one layer deeper than the rest but even he was surface level. I couldn’t really feel for him like I would have had I known more about him. The twin boys were well written but the terms “boyo” and “weird” throughout the book didn’t go unnoticed. I hated their accents because it snatched me out of the book a few times but I think Stine should have delved into their lives before…well, just “before” (you’ll read it and know what I mean…no spoiler). I really yearned to know more about their history.
Overall, I enjoyed the book because it was an easy blood and guts read. If you’re looking for something with depth…keep digging. If you want a wam-bam-thank you-maam book…then here ya go!
– T.R. Horne, author of Breaking Mobius and Crazy Dirty Love, blogger on Raging Book Reviews at www.ragingbookreviews.wordpress.com