When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in her hometown, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realises that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the centre. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.
I really enjoyed Henry’s previous books. There is just something about her dark retellings that really works for me. So obviously I requested this book when it appeared on Netgalley (and then took forever to actually read it…). And I liked it…
It didn’t get me as much as her other books did though. And yes a big part of that is that it isn’t a retelling. And another major reason would be that I don’t like reading about teenagers… Which are both very personal reasons for why this book wasn’t a hit for me.
I did really like the atmosphere and the gore in this book though. The way these corpses were mutilated was just… wow. Add to that a dark forest, weird visions, old bigots, and a curse… Great. And although it was over 500 pages long I did find myself flying through it. At no point was this book boring or a struggle. That being said, I do feel it could have been a bit shorter (personally I would have liked a Lot less of hormonal teenager stuff in my book).
But there were also some not-personal issues with this book. For one, we are left with quite a few of unanwered questions or just things that don’t quite make sense (why do certain characters remember whilst others don’t, what is up with David’s visions, why does the monster set the town up against ‘the Outsiders’,…). It was incredibly predictable who the next victim was going to be from pretty much the start of the book, and the reveal as to whose body the monster has inhabited, which was so glaringly obvious. And then the whole resolution was very anticlimactic.
To be fair, if this book wasn’t written by Christina Henry I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. So considering this book probably wasn’t going to be for me, I still had a decent time with it. It was an easy read that I flew through, but nothing really special.