**spoiler alert** Sparse, no-nonsense, minimalistic prose makes for fast reading, yet, in spite of Ethan's constant running, it seemed like he, and th**spoiler alert** Sparse, no-nonsense, minimalistic prose makes for fast reading, yet, in spite of Ethan's constant running, it seemed like he, and the plot, weren't going anywhere. The beginning and middle were very suspenseful and thrilling—and there was a sense of urgency to find out what was going on. Why can't Ethan remember certain things, like his home number? His wife's cell phone number? The car accident? Does he really have head trauma, or are the residents of Wayward Pines really out to get him? Why are the sheriff, Arnold Pope, and the nurse, Pam, so secretive and distrustful? Why try to force Ethan to have "emergency surgery"?
Meanwhile, why has Ethan apparently been missing/dead from Seattle for a year, when Ethan seems to only have been in Wayward Pines for 5 days? Why does Beverly claim she came to Wayward Pines in 1985, and will have been there an entire year this year—2012, the year Ethan arrives? Why does Kate Hewson, one of the agents Ethan came to Wayward Pines to find, look to have aged 15 or so years, and now appears to be in her 50s? Why are the residents of Wayward Pines implanted with tracking devices? Why are there no TVs, cell phones, Internet, or any kind of contact with the outside world? Why is there an electric fence around Wayward Pines, and no seeming way out?
All of these questions were fascinating for sure, but when I finally got the answer, I wasn't really sure I wanted it. Around page 230, I ended up skimming several chapters, because I was so tired of reading about Ethan's endless escape quest from the crazed residents, who had banded together and killed Beverly, and then went on the hunt for Ethan. This seemed to go on for ten chapters, this running and chasing, and then it just got worse and weirder once Ethan crossed the river and encountered the strange "humanoid"-animal predators. I should also note that by this point, Ethan had been so injured that it was terribly hard to believe that he was basically still going on adrenaline alone. He'd been in a car accident, had head injuries, had been beaten up by Sheriff Pope which included a broken nose and cracked ribs, he'd been drugged, had his tracking device cut out of his leg with a rusty knife, had (likely) hypothermia after running around naked in the rain all night, and then he encounters the creatures and has his stomach slashed open by one of its jagged talons. I mean, it's the kind of whumpage of fanfiction stuff, but it hardly seemed realistic for a plot of this nature (even before the rest of the plot was revealed).
I have mixed feelings on the reveal. Certainly, I wasn't expecting a "post-apocalyptic", "we're the very last humans on earth and the year is somewhere long past 2500" scenario. I don't know. I do think it's a creative turn of events, but I still can't help feeling a little disappointed. I really only wanted to read this because of the show, and I was really into reading this in the beginning—and felt the show (the first few episodes are all that have aired so far) really stuck to the book's plot well, but I also guess reading this killed some of the mystery, so now I'm wondering if the show will continue to stick to the plot as closely. I know I don't want to read anymore of this series.
This plot made me think of the plot of "Vanilla Sky", a barely describable movie starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz. It was so twisted and kept having more twists that every time you thought you knew what was going on, you turned out to be wrong. Spoiler alert: most of the movie was all a dream. So, not a great comparison to this book but pretty accurate (except for the dream stuff, maybe). ...more