“‘Game on,’ she says.”
I admit, when I first came across this book with another horror book on the shelves of my MPH bookstore nearby where I lived, I was intrigued. The front cover page was attractive and it gave out a sense of mystery and fear; enough to capture my attention and buy it. The summary wasn’t too bad either, though when it did say:
‘The lights are dimmed
The doors are locked
The aisles are desertes
But something is breathing
The only way out is to go further in…
Welcome to the nightmare
didn’t really make me go, ‘Oh, this must be an amazing book!’. No. It actually made me briefly hesitate once I reached the counter as I turned the book to its back to check out the summary. It made me wonder if it was worth buying after all despite the impulsive decision to pick it up. The only reason I saw through to the decision to buy was when I saw the review on the front cover and thought, ‘People liked it, why not?’
When I started reading, however, now this is where it gets interesting.
But first off! The boring part. I need to introduce you lot to what this book is. Spoilers alert!
This book is set in Johannesburg, South Africa where we meet two main characters in the book; Dan and Rhoda. This entire story starts off in the mall, where Rhoda, the character and what a character she is, loses the kid she’s babysitting. Then, we have Dan who works in a bookstore, the emo-kid who wishes his life’s better but really, all he does is complain and do nothing.
The creepy factor of this book comes in when Rhoda, with the help of Dan to find the kid she lost, finds out that the mall they were in has secrets to hide, specifically, the way they were thrown into a world of horror from creepy text messages to, not to mention, piles of mannequins!
This book, the plot itself has a lot of potential in terms of pulling out the spine-chilling moments successfully when it needed to. The author has done a great job portraying anxiousness from Dan and Rhoda at certain moments in the book using the first point-of-view; each chapter being either Dan’s or Rhoda’s view, alternating. We get to feel their personalities first hand and the immersion factor of this book is good!
Though, this book isn’t the best horror I had ever read, if I’m being honest.
The way the story progressed leaves a lot to be desired. The first hundred pages, or maybe more, is too slow and possibly dragging. I feel like things could have accelerated and picked up pace.
What more, Rhoda specifically, her character often times left me gritting my teeth in annoyance and Dan, I just wanted to grab him through the pages and shake him up. Their interactions with each other also made me want to knock their heads together in exasperation. Rhoda with her explicit language and Dan with his awkward way of speaking, these two only served to aggravate me more.
It got, however, better in the second part of the book when things started to pick up. More things, creepy, spooky things started to happen, leaving you wanting to know more and more of what’s about to happen next. The relationship between Rhoda and Dan also developed quite well. This was where I started to really get into the book and enjoyed the thinly-veiled mystery behind what the mall truly was to be.
The ending is when I lost my interest in the book for good. The ending, although I suspect was written a way to leave the readers feeling like they were left to imagine what happens next with Rhoda’s last line at the end of the book, “‘Game on,’ she says.”, it only made me stare and frown.
I would say, personally, that the execution failed to grip my attention and didn’t evoke the urge in me to reread this book. The ending could have left more of an impact in my mind but all I was left doing when I reached the end of the book was nothing but sigh. I feel like the ending is a bit too rushed and could have been planned a bit differently to evoke a better reaction from me than a mere shake of my head and off to the shelves it go, never to be read again.
Overall, this book is good but it isn’t that good.
Maybe keep your money and don’t fetch this book if you’re not a fan of cursing because Rhoda is very colourful in her language and not a fan of confusing, sometimes two-dimensional, relationship development between characters.
I would, however, recommend it for those who likes slow build of events at first before jumping into the scenes of horror.
I’m not saying, ‘Don’t buy this book’ but I am saying, there’s better horror books out there.
Now, for my rating on the book where 1 is the lowest ranking aka DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS to 10 aka THIS IS A MUST!; this book ranked on a scale of:
It’s a good book. But it can be better.
Hope this will give you an overview of what this story is about and what I think about it. Make your own judgements, though! If you do purchase the book, et me know what you thought about it, if you agree or disagree with this review or if you already read it, what’s your thoughts on the book?
With that, I wrap up my article!
Until the next review, my fellow book lovers!