Misty's Reviews > Oblivion Road

Oblivion Road by Alex McAulay
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's review
Jul 16, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: review-copy-solicited, contemporary, horror-mystery-suspense-thriller, juvenile-ya, read-in-2010, rant
Read from July 01 to 02, 2010

I received this book as part of the Other Shelf Tours, and I requested it on pure cover appeal alone -- and since we all know how this typically works out for me, I'll just hold out my hand to be slapped now.

I don't know why I don't learn.  I sort of don't know what to say about this book.  It's not that the writing was awful, per se, it's just that I was completely indifferent for a majority of the book.  This is a suspense novel, and it should have been riveting.  These kids are stranded in a brutal environment with an apparent truckload of maniacs on the loose, and horrible, absolutely horrible, things are happening to them -- and I didn't care. 

McAuly never made me feel like Courtney or her friends were real, and even though they were in near-constant danger, I never felt as though they were -- I never had that tension that you should have with this type of book, the tension where you jerk upright and hunch over the book, or literally sit on the edge of your seat in some weird mimicry of the events, as if you may get up and run or fight or whatever the case may be.  Courtney's narration was sort of apathetic and disjointed, which is maybe a realistic shock reaction, but which doesn't lend itself to the excitement of a suspense story -- and this feeling carried over even into the parts where Courtney claimed to be terrified.  I found myself apathetic in the same way, at one point calmly thinking, "Yeah, ___________'s going to die," and moving on like it was nothing.  I should care if a main character is about to bite it.  I have to put this on McAuly -- you can't just say there's terror, you have to prove it.  Make me terrified, make me give a damn.  If brutal, horrific things are happening and I feel nothing more than mild disgust, that's an issue.

There did come a point near the end of the book where I started to feel a little more tension -- when Courtney is finally faced with the decision to confront the situation and be active on her own -- and from then on it was more enjoyable -- but in a 300 page book, to become invested in the last 50 pages is unacceptable.  That's 250 pages of wasted potential.  And even though I felt the tension then, it was too little, too late.  By that point it was too close to the end for me to care who made it out alive, if anyone.  I was over it.  That budding tension should have happened in the beginning and been built upon throughout, so that by the end I was ravenous to know what happened.  That's what a thriller should be. If this hadn't been a book specifically for review, I wouldn't have made it past 50 pages.  I don't even know that I would have made it to 50 pages.  If I don't care enough about the characters by then to worry when they're in imminent danger, then it's too late to make me care at all.
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-4 of 4) </span> <span class="smallText">(4 new)</span>

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Stella Not to mention how painfully often her name was repeated in every single chapter.

Instead of:
Courtney walked to the road. She saw nothing for miles each way. She had to make a choice, and so Courtney chose left.

It was:
Courtney walked to the road. Courtney saw nothing for miles each way. Courtney had to make a choice, and so Courtney chose left.

Now that's just bad writing.

Misty I HATE that! I was just saying that about another book; such a pet peeve, I don't know why an author would do that.

message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Allen But it does have a pretty cover. So at least you could peel the cover off and make some sort of book art or something..

message 4: by Scott (last edited Sep 25, 2013 01:22PM) (new)

Scott Misty, you are definitely not alone. We all fall prey to the lure of the covert art appeal at some point or another, (and for those of us out here that like to read genre fantasy titles, maybe more often than most :P). Well, I'm just guessing that this book was breaking the "show, don't tell" rule left and right as well? Gah. I'd take this one to a used book store and get some exchange credit for a better book you've been thinking about reading. Btw, nice re-write, Stella, and LOL Amanda :D

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