Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: Alone

Title: Alone
Author: Cyn Balog
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery | Thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school. 
As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.
Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality… (goodreads)

That escalated quickly. 
Plot: I still can't put my finger on what kind of story Alone was. It definitely delivered in the creepy, but it never had a point. From the start, we were introduced to Seda and her family. What was unique about Seda was that she absorbed her twin brother in the womb and she had been hearing his voice in her head from an early age. Then we had Seda's family, her mother refused to return to Boston in hopes of selling her aunt and uncle's murder-mystery house and her father recently abandoned them. Stir in a group of stranded teens and we've got ourselves a weird series of events. 

I liked some parts of Alone but thought that Balog was trying to cram too much in, especially for a supposed horror novel. The ending was definitely twisty, but I can't say that it was satisfying. 

Characters: Like most books in the horror category, there wasn't much time spent on developing the characters. Seda's mother was unusually absent and I can barely remember the names of Seda's four siblings. The group of stranded teens all played into horror movie archetypes and were unforgettable by the end of the novel. And that brings me to the dreaded love interest: Heath. Unsurprisingly, Seda fell in love with the leader of the teen group almost instantly, complete with furious blushing and "I've never done this before" moments. The two were way too obvious in their flirtations and seemed out of place given the tone of the novel. 

Worldbuilding: Alone took place mostly at the murder house which was missing a lot of information. It took me until the 80%-mark that I understood what a "murder house" actually meant and I truly think the reader would have benefited from a description of the house's layout. Each chapter opened with some information about how to "play" at the murder house but it felt out of place and really didn't add much to the novel. 

Short N Sweet: Alone was weird and creepy, but in the end, it all felt unnecessary. 


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