Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Book Blurb:

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

It's too late for you. You're dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a new start. But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger. Her fears are confirmed when she discovers the dead body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town's feral cats. Claire knows there's more to this "accident" than meets the eye. But the closer she gets to finding out the truth, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself. . . .

My Review:

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Mystery, Supernatural, Teen--

Claire Cain was targeted by a gang due to her investigative journalism skills on their drug ring. After barely surviving a beating by the gang, she and her father pick up and move to a small town so unlike the big city she grew up in. But strange things happen in the small town and Claire needs to try and understand why.

This was a very strange story for me. I wanted to really like it, and I did like Claire and her courage, but I could not get into the book. Disclaimer here, I have had a lot going on in my life, so it may not be the books fault. But I did find myself picking up the book to read and going through a few chapters just to sit it down and not think about it again. When I wanted to read and I had a few minutes, I would pick another book to start because I completely forgot I was reading Feral. This book took me FOREVER to get through. Yet again though, that could be my fault not the book, so take this review with a grain of salt because this may be just the book for you.

The descriptions in this book were incredibly gritty. When Serena is murdered right at the beginning, you are present with her as her nose breaks and her skin splits as she is dragged through the woods. When Claire is beaten, the reader experiences the brutality right along with her, every broken bone and damaged organ. The creepy cats in town are quite feral (get it?) and the author gives the gory details of them ripping apart their prey, be it mouse or human. I was a bit surprised at how detailed the murder and gore were for a teen book, the level of detail I usually find in an adult mystery/thriller. Don't get me wrong, the details added to the mystery and awfulness of the plot as well as were incredibly well done by the author, I was just surprised.

The narration of the story would alternate between Claire and Serena's points of view. Claire was trying to be brave and accept her past and move on, but worry and fear would cloud her actions. She also tried to not get involved in any investigations, but she has inherently curious.Claire put on a brave face, but she was really a mess. She had crazy bad PTSD, and probably still needed counseling, despite her denial and desire to return to normal. Little things acted as triggers and would set her off, causing her brain to put them out of context and she would freak out. It felt like she would completely overreact, but honestly what would I know about dealing with the emotional damage associated with such an attack. Hands down, Claire was a mess. And despite her best intentions, she could not resist getting involved in the mystery of Serena (probably didn't help that she was being harassed by a scary Serena cat). Serena starts off the book being murdered, but her random narration is filled with pain and terror, as well as a strange disconnect with what she is really experiencing. I found it odd that Serena the spirit felt pain in her lifeless body, but whatever. The side characters were not very well developed so they kind of blended into the background of the story in my opinion. I remember what types of characters were used just not individual identities or name to go with them, such as "the Jock", "the Bimbo", "the slow security guard", "the concerned friend"...They became more of an idea to me than actual people.

This was an interesting mystery/thriller with a dash of supernatural thrown in. I liked the mystery aspect of the book and the author was able to keep me guessing as to the identity of the murderer almost to the end. I had a few top suspects to narrow down, but I was close. I don't really feel like I connected to the characters very well, I was fairly ambivalent towards them to be honest. I thought that the book had a unique original idea, but I just could not fully engage in what I was reading despite my original enthusiasm. Overall, this was a very creepy mystery, but I just don't think it was for me. I would read more from the author in the future.

I received this title from Goodreads and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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