Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey. He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).
He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter's Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.
Chuck's novel Double Dead will be out in November, 2011.
He's written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com.
Happy book birthday! This is best book written like old school Stephen King stories which is not written by another author! And it’s freaking brilliant!
Oh my goodness! Finally somebody brought back the addictive, engaging, unputdownable old book spirits of Stephen King! This book gave me those amazing Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot vibes and some old school Dean Koontz books’ taste!
I loved Chuck Wendig’s previous amazing works including Wanderers! But this creepy, jumpy, dark, paranormal, complex story just grew on me so fast! I’m so happy it was long but trust me it was not long enough! I wanted to read it for days.
The characterization, tense atmosphere of haunted mine and a house with a nasty ghost, high tension, gripping, riveting story telling turns you into potato couches, hands glued to your e-readers, turning the pages incessantly, being afraid of breathing, jumping up as you hear each creak coming from your house and you spent hours at this position because what you read is true magic!
As a big fan ominous, riveting horror/ thrillers and quirky characters to easily root for, this book is match made of heaven for bloody psychological horror reader for me!
The opening was epic! The serial killer Edmund Reese has been caught after taking four lives of innocent young girls. He’s gonna be electrocuted but he is man of numbers. He keeps mumbling correlations, checking out his calculations. He seems like he found a way to escape from electric chair and of course as his plan works! He vanished into thin air. Where the hell did he go?
At the president day: the police officer Nate Graves has meeting with father’s lawyer, learning his cancer and his intention to sell him his childhood house for one dollar. He curses a lot because his father was emotional and physical abuser turned his childhood life into hell.
As he tells his wife Maddie he rejected the offer, his fifteen years old son intervenes in the conversation he is eavesdropping. He is an empath and he has a humiliating incident at school lately because of feeling people’s pain, fear way too much. He wants a fresh start and moving to a new place can give him the new phase he desperately needs.
Nate is not happy with this decision but family of three packs their bags, moving the eerie place located near Rambling Rock Park where Edmund Reese has taken his victims’ lives.
As soon as they moved to the place, strange things begin to occur. Nate sees his father’s ghost chasing him around (he finds himself in the woods barefoot in dreamy state just like it happened in Pet Sematary and their horror novels author neighbor Jed also reminds us of Pet Sematary’s Jud- even the names so similar)
And Maddie had a traumatic experience in her childhood: she saw something she shouldn’t have seen when she was making dolls in her bedroom. And now she became an artist working on horrific sculptures, passing out, suffering from blackouts. Things get out of control as her owl sculpture disappears and one of her sculptures looks like Edmund Reese’s face attacks her!
Let’s not forget little Olly who got attacked by his bully friends on the way back home and saved by mysterious badass Jake lives at the trailer park, a few ages older than him.
The growing friendship between them makes Nate agitated! Because the boy is reminding him of someone and he feels in his gut there’s something wrong with him. Nate couldn’t be so right!
I gave away a lot. It’s time for me to shut my mouth: but I’m telling you this book is so good! It reminded me of my days when I was teenager, coming home from school, locking myself in my room to zone out with more Stephen King works till the dinner time! I felt the same pure excitement when I was turning the pages. I liked the conclusion. I think I enjoyed everything about this book. Of course it deserves the entire galaxy stars! Grading it with five stars is not fair enough for me!
Millions of thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing/ Del Rey for sharing this incredible digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
"They were not girls. They were just things. Each a number. Each a purpose. Each a sacrifice."
I've read a lot of creepy books in my life, but never have I been stopped by TSA because of one. True story: when returning from our trip last week, TSA flagged my bag, and the only item they pulled out and searched was my paperback copy of The Book of Accidents. After vigorously flipping through each page-searching for who knows what-they deemed it safe enough to pass security and continue its journey with me. None of my other books were searched, so I'm going to just chalk it up to another deliciously eerie aspect of this story.
One of the things I love about Chuck Wendig's books is that they all have a different flavor; while his stories are distinctly in the realm of fantastical horror, no two are alike. It's a bold move for authors when they deviate from tried and true formulas, but when it works as it does here, the payout is glorious. The haunted house trope has gone through many different styles over the years, but never have I quite experienced the way it is incorporated into this book before. I absolutely adored the originality of The Book of Accidents, and Wendig has cemented his place on my list of favorite authors.
There is a lot going on in this book and I'm going to try and keep it as spoiler free as possible. The story mostly revolves around a family of three: Nate (father), Mads (mother), and Oliver (son). They are moving out to the boonies of Pennsylvania because Nate's horrendous, abusive father is dying and leaving the house to Nate's family for the low, low price of $1. Sounds like there's a catch, right? There is, and it doesn't take long for these three to start feeling the ramifications of it. Each of these three characters has their own POV to what's going on, and when the three separate threads start tying together, it creates a climax of epic proportions.
"Oliver didn't have any armor. He felt people's pain-literally, he could see it, feel it, like a dark star pulsating. Sometimes the pain was small and sharp, other times like a geyser of sickness fountaining out of a person. Their fear, their worry, their trauma. it shared it with him. And he couldn't turn it off."
I was rooting for all of our "good" characters (yes, even ), but Oliver truly touched a special piece of my heart that I'll continue to carry with me. Something about the generational ramifications of trauma and abuse and the statistics that we see portrayed across this novel completely broke my heart, yet I found it to heal after seeing the glimmer of hope offered by the end. Friends, this is a wild ride, and you may feel as if you're taking the crazy train off the tracks at times, but trust the process and ride it out to the end. There are many nuggets of wisdom applicable to life outside of this fantasy world, and maybe that's why this book felt so profound and memorable. If you can handle some gross out sequences and don't mind horror of Biblical proportions, please don't let this title slip by you in 2021. As always, I'm eagerly awaiting the author's next work, and cannot wait to see what direction he takes us in next.
Trigger Warnings include (but not limited to): Descriptive gore and violence, suicide, murder, substance abuse, domestic and child abuse (this is central to the plot and featured throughout the book), bullying, and an opening scene where a serial killer is sentenced to death via electric chair.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
So many things happened long ago. So many things are happening in the present.
Nate and Maddie both have experienced things their past that still linger beneath the surface. Hiding, dormant, waiting to come to the surface. Maddie was always an artist. When she was a child, she was in her room, yet witnessed something and began making haunting sculptures. Nate, former police officer now game warden, grew up in a home in the country with his abusive father. When his father passed away, Nate is left his childhood home. Their son, Oliver (Olly) feels things deeply, specifically he can feel the pain in (of) others.
Now living in Nate's childhood home, things are beginning to happen. Strange things. Creepy things. Sinister things. Each member of the family feels and experiences them. What do they make of them? Are they only tired from moving? Is it stress? Moving to a new place and changing schools is hard, but Oliver begins to make friends (and catches the eye of two bullies), but one of them is not like the others. He has a dark edge; he has secrets and a love of dark magic.
Soon things take a dark turn...
Weighing in at 544 pages this book packs a punch. It begins with circling ants and just keeps getting creepier from there. This read like a horror story from yesteryear. Reminiscent of all the horror greats. I loved how things began to happen, it is almost as if they house is saying "shh, don't get too comfortable, be on the ready, get prepared because, things are about to get REAL really fast." There is a sense of foreboding, a sense of dread, a sense of danger, and an underlying current of unease. Plus, the chapter headers! Very clever.
Wendig has crafted such a dark and creepy tale while giving nods to those writers who influenced him. This was pure magic! Besides the storyline, this book gave me the same chills that I experienced when reading early King.
For me, this book was more creepy than scary. I loved the underlying feel of it. That river of dread, the unease about what could/would happen next. You know that dread and unease that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The characters in the book experienced it as did I.
Be warned there is a lot going on in this book. I will not mention everything because I do not want to give away the farm, so just know that Wendig throws everything but the kitchen sink at these characters. It is a dark journey from page one. With a lot going on, there is a lot to tie up. Not everything will be tied up to everyone's liking but I did not mind.
This book is on the longer side, but it did not feel long to me. Some readers may feel the length of it. His previous book Wanderers felt way too long to me but I also did not enjoy that book as I did this one. So happy I decided to give him another chance.
Creepy, dark, and full of dread.
Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Nathan, Maddie, and their 15 year old son Ollie are given an opportunity to leave the city behind when Nate's abusive father passes away and leaves him the family home for a measly $1.00. Nate would rather never return but Maddie insists this will be what's best for the family and so he agrees.
Odd things start to happen as soon as they arrive in the house. Nate begins seeing the ghost of his late father. Maddie's sculptures begin to come alive. Ollie meets a new friend, the mysterious Jake, whose intentions seem less than genuine.
Wendig from here spins an epic tale of good versus evil.
A lot of people are comparing this to old school Stephen King and I will agree in the sense that this is lengthy (500+ pages) and incredibly vivid in detail. The first 75% of this I was gripping my kindle with white knuckles. Loving the journey and loving the characters. Nate, Maddie, and especially the empathetic Ollie really stole my heart. In this kind of book you need to have characters to root for and Wendig nailed their characterization. After the 75% mark is when my interest began to wane which is a shame as we are now coming to the huge finale. As the action ramps up my confusion started setting in. I wish an editor had stepped in and told the author that less is more. At least 100 pages could have been removed without any of the story being lost. It just became too much. Too convoluted. My biggest gripe in books that I read is tedium. Oh, how I hate to read the same things over and over again and this book had a lot of chapters that read just like the others.
This is an ambitious novel without a doubt and Wendig has obvious talent not only in his writing but in his world building which is something I admire very much. Take any of my complaints with a grain of salt. Horror lovers should definitely give this one a try. 3.5 stars!
Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for granting my wish to read this arc.
My thanks to Random House/Ballantine, Chuck Windig and Netgalley. This book is exactly why I read. It's one of those stories that have become rare for me in the horror/sci-fi field. It was fantastic! Not really scary, but eerie as anything I've read before. It also wasn't a new story, but it was told well! I loved every tense, butt clenching moment. Also, I do love a good ending, and this did not disappoint! Kudos!
This book has two fucking prologues. Two. You may just want to stand back a few feet from this review, because it might get a little cussy and I tend to spit when I’m excited. Also, wild hand gesturing; flailing. Where were we?
Two. Fucking. Prologues.
And do you remember Mick LaSalle’s movie reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle? (I’m sorry if he’s actually still doing those, I don’t live in Cali anymore so I don’t get the SF Chron-Chron, as we called it.) There was always this little cartoon graphic that accompanied his reviews. For the movies that LaSalle really enjoyed, this was the graphic:
And that was me after the first prologue. I jumped out of my seat and stood on it and clapped like a maniac, just like the little bald man in the cartoon. Why? Because Wendig brought it. He brought in the first prologue.
Brought what, Sadie?
THE HORROR. The Book of Accidents is a horror novel. Some reviews might be using other genre labels–mystery, thriller, science fiction, dark fantasy–but make no mistake, Mother Horror is claiming this book as one of her own. This is straight-up, unadulterated, supernatural, paranormal, spooky, eerie, HORROR.
This isn’t Wendig’s first foray into the dark genre. His Miriam Black series (of which I am a massive fan) is also unadulterated, supernatural, paranormal, creepy, fucked-up, spooky urban horror. I claim that series for the horror genre too. And then there’s Wanderers. Folks, let’s call it what it is: Chuck Wendig is a horror writer.
The Book of Accidents is a chunky, meaty, time-travelish, family-centric, horrific, generationally profound, THING. At first, Wendig lights up all those mechanisms in your brain that are responsible for following the plot and retaining information.
It’s tempting to start trying to “figure things out” early on, but after reading the whole book and then going back and re-reading portions of it for this review, my suggestion is to take information as it comes and tuck it away for later. Wendig intentionally rolls the story out layer by layer, and there’s no competition between readers for being the first to “see it coming.”
So relax and settle in with the family unit at the core of this novel. Their love for one another is the driving force behind the entire storyline. Maddie, Nate, and Oliver. I feel like I need one of those graphic t-shirts where the names of the characters are listed down the side right over your heart. Because that’s where they ultimately take up residence: right there in your heart, where you’re all squishy and vulnerable.
Maddie, the artist.
Nate, the good guy.
Oliver, the neuro-diverse empath.
Nate moves his family into his childhood home and almost immediately, things begin to change. Some of the changes are just the normal things people would experience living in their hometown after being away for a while. But some of the changes are unsettling and mysterious.
As Nate and Maddie grapple with their individual and personal hauntings from their past traumas, their son, Oliver makes an unusual new friend.
As the underlying darkness begins to grow stronger and stronger, each member of the family encounters this strange, powerful magic in different ways until it gathers them together in an epic life-or-death battle.
Through it all, the reader is right there with them, helplessly and hopelessly invested. As I read, I tried to protect my brain from fear as much as I tried to protect my heart from being crushed. Wendig does not hold anything back. He pushes this family’s limits to the breaking point. It absolutely took my breath away. There were times where I was secretly whispering threats to Chuck as I read: “Oooooh, you better not let that happen” or “Damn it, Wendig if you do this, I will NEVER forgive you.”
In the end, the destination was so worth the harrowing journey. Every worry, every heart-pounding moment, every hitch in my chest, and every swear word uttered…
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is up for being emotionally pulled through the wringer. I promise you won’t regret it.
Creepy and fascinating. Started this by lantern light during the Texas snowstorm and it was exactly the sort of scary book you should not read at midnight in a house without power. That's a compliment. 4.5 stars.
"Edmund Walker Reese was a man of numbers...he sat strapped to an electric chair...Everything was part of an equation...the truest language of the universe was not our words, or our body language...[From Journal 37 of serial killer Edmund Walker Reese]". Guards on Death Row said, "Walker disappeared the moment they flipped the switch on that chair, he went away, rode the lightning." Nate Graves was one of the prison guards in attendance.
The Graves' ancestral home was located on thirteen acres in Upper Bucks County, PA. Nate Graves, a city cop, was offered this property..."a free and clear transaction...price one dollar." His father, Nate Sr. made this offer on his deathbed. Nate had no love, only disdain for his abusive father. Upon his death, "[Nate] saw his dad, standing in the corner. Him, but not him. Like a ghost...a hallucination."
Why move the family to the stone colonial farmhouse? Nate welcomed a job with less stress. He would be a Game Warden Ranger working alongside new partner "Fig". Nate's wife Maddie was a sculptor working with repurposed materials. With this move, she could set up a studio in a pole barn built using repurposed telephone poles buried deep in the ground. Oliver [Olly] age 15, felt like a 'nobody among somebodies". A change of schools was a chance to make friends. Olly was different from other kids. He was intensely compassionate. His empathetic nature allowed him to understand and share the feelings of others, a power he could not turn off.
"These are strange times, and we live in a curious area...near Ramble Rocks Park and the old stone train tunnel abandoned in the 1940's. The "haunted" tunnel was a place of mysterious accidents, a place of murder, a place of ghosts. Enter at your own risk!
"...the house seemed to loom over Nate...a house of...bad dreams...Nate heard the rumble of a voice: his father's voice. Had the house unsettled him? Maddie purchased a carving chain saw after finding downed trees in the nearby woods. "She did not approach with any expectation...it was more of an uncovering...to find what the material was trying to hide...wings, a beak, an owl...She remembered losing control. Going dark. The owl she made, gone". At lunch in his new school, Olly joined a group of gamers. A chaotic fight broke out in the lunchroom. Bullied off school grounds, an older boy named Jake recued Olly then walked him home. "Why did this kid seem so familiar?"
"The Book of Accidents" by Chuck Wendig is a dark, supernatural thriller, a work of horror and a battle between good and evil. A Halloween shindig at the Graves Farmhouse introduces the reader to the many flawed, well-developed characters that populate this tome. How and why "travelers" appear and disappear and their connectedness in versions of Earth is fascinating. Fans of the paranormal, science fiction, horror and magic will be thrilled to take this wild, fantastical ride. Highly recommended.
Thank you Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine/ Del Rey Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Since reading last year's WANDERERS, I've become a fan of Mr. Wendig. Now, with his latest book, my fandom is locked in. THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS is full of heart, while packing in the pain and the scares, in new and delicious ways.
Nate's estranged father is dying which is fine with Nate because he hates the man. Both Nate and his wife grew up in the same town and they decide to move back into Nate's childhood home along with their son, Oliver. Right from the beginning things are not right; Nate sees his dad's ghost, his wife Maddie carves wooden animals that sometimes disappear and Oliver? Well, Oliver feels pain. Everyone's pain. How will this family cope with these odd happenings? Are these events harmful? Will the family survive this house? You'll have to read this to find out!
In some ways this narrative reminded me of old Stephen King novels, and other novels of the late 70's and early 80's. A small rural town in Pennsylvania, old mines, the town's history so vivid you feel like you can touch it. For me, those portions reminded me a lot of Salem's Lot specifically, and how we got to know that town.
Then there's the characters-Nate, troubled by his abusive childhood. Maddie, driven to create art even if she doesn't know why. And Oliver, the poor young man who is so empathetic he feels the pain of others as his own. The author makes us care for them so much, and then he rips our hearts out.
There is a lot going on here, and I can't get into it all, but Chuck Wendig blends it together seamlessly. There are other worlds than these, right? (Another thing that put me in mind of Stephen King.) The protagonists here are easy to love and the antagonists easy to hate, but these are not simple characters. They're complicated and messy and even more realistic as a result.
This is a long book, but never once did I feel it was too long; I was too immersed in the story to care. THE BOOK OF ACCIDENTS is a marvelous read that will have you on the edge of your seat, either cringing or cheering, and who doesn't love that?
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
I mean, I was already a huge fan of Wendig but I never realized that he could pick something like this... an almost Stephen King kind of setup that has echoes of the Shining, shake it up so hard and brutal, and give us a very SK story that is every bit as original as SK but without the many divergences.
What we have here is a classic horror that is very much a Wendig. And if you know Wendig, you know he knows how to deal with the small stuff, the many great details, and the language. But he also knows how to do the mind-f**king-blowing big stuff, too. The wild fantasy, the deep horror, and pull off a massive fractal WRONGNESS that is all parts delicious.
And that's where we are with The Book of Accidents. I love all these characters but love Oliver the most. It is, after all, all about the pain. And what delicious pain it is.
(And if you think it's pain in any normal sense of the word, you have another thing coming. It's not just abuse and everyone else's pain, but it's about ALL the pain. And Wendig pulls several fantastic rabbits out of this particular hat.)
No spoilers. But this is a truly delightful horror that will stick with me for quite some time. It's rich, very twisty and twisted, and quite heartbreaking. And then there are the awesome Lovecraftian elements that never overwhelm but truly drive the story home.
I will fully admit I went into this not expecting to like it at all. For one, I was not a fan of Chuck Wendig’s previous book, Wanderers, and wrote a lengthy review detailing exactly why. But I did decide to pick up The Book of Accidents, not just because I was feeling major amounts of FOMO after several of my friends loved it, but because this was a genre departure from Wanderers. Also I’m usually one for second chances.
The book follows the Graves family, Nate, Maddie and their son Oliver, as they move into a rundown home Nate’s father used to own and left to him shortly before his death. As with most books featuring creepy old houses, unsettling things start happening to the Graves family that challenge how they perceive the world. But even before moving to rural Pennsylvania, there were things that were different about the Graves’. Oliver can feel the pain of those around him, wriggling and gnashing inside their bodies. Maddie and Nate have their secrets too, and the whole family is looking for a fresh start.
By and large I really enjoyed this book. I thought the plot was clever and hard to predict, which kept me frantically turning the pages. And for me, it was also pretty scary, though for some reason I kept reading it late at night. (do not recommend!) There’s also a good deal of supernatural elements which were handled well, along with the rest of the ‘grounded’ plot. Though a lot of the creepy, crawly magic stuff seems like it clambered solely from the mind of Mr. Wendig, the themes of family, cyclical abuse and being able to choose a kinder world were much more universal human ideas that gave the story even more depth.
There’s something about Wendig’s style of writing here that is really approachable, but also started to annoy me after a while. The characters spoke beyond conversationally, like in trying to seem exceedingly casual it just came off even more contrived. The pendulum swinging the other way, so to speak. And every time there was a non-dialogue sound—something slamming, buzzing, etc.—the author would describe the sound as you typically would find in a book, but then he’d also write it out phonetically. There was an overflow of onomatopoeia to where it became distracting. I mean, “the doorbell was ringing, ding-dong, ding-dong”, was this really necessary, Chuck??
But I think the thing that earned the biggest eye-roll from me was the complete shoehorning in of whatever hot-button political issue the author could come up with into nearly every conversation. In some instances closer to the end there’s more of an excuse for naming all the ‘bad things’ of the world in this way, but he did this from the very beginning too. If the story has nothing to do with climate change or immigration or whatever topic, and doesn’t offer any meaningful commentary, then I would just skip it. Leave it out, otherwise it feels like you’re just trying to tick boxes. If this book was being published next year instead of this month, I guarantee he would have worked in Britney’s conservatorship somehow.
Those things, though grating, didn’t impact my time with the story as a whole, but probably prevented it from being five stars. The thing I disliked most about Wanderers, how poorly constructed the ending was compared to the first half, was not an issue at all here. I actually loved the ending in The Book of Accidents. It wasn’t too neat or too open-ended, and offered real resolution where it could still be forged. I think Wendig will probably be a hit-or-miss author for me going forward. And it’s going to be dependent or not whether he can keep himself from trying to cover everything at once. Keep the story more localized, don’t try to encompass every social and political struggle of the moment, and I think the final product will be better for it.
*Thanks Del Rey Books & Netgalley for an advance review copy!
FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC!!! Wow. Just wow. Some of my favorite books are those that just completely catch me by surprise, and this one did and then some!! Idk what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t this world bending, multi-layered, atmospheric, and creepy as hell epic adventure of a horror novel!! If I had finished this when I started it last year, this would have easily been in my top 3 favorite horror novels of 2021, maybe even taking the #1 spot.
Nate’s awful and abusive father is dying, and one of the provisions of his will is that he will not bequeath the childhood home Nate grew up in, but Nate can buy it for $1. There must be a catch, right? But his son Oliver isn’t doing well at his current school and when Oliver expresses interest in leaving, Nate and his wife Maddie decide a fresh start for their son is worth it. Nearly as soon as they arrive however, weird things start to happen. The animals act oddly, Nate starts seeing things, and Maddie suffers blackouts while making her art. Instead of leaving immediately as any normal person would do (this is horror after all!), they decide to stay, and soon things go from creepy to downright sinister.
I'm not one of those people who reads to fall asleep. In fact, I've always been mystified by people who say they can't read because it makes them tired. I'm one of those "just one more chapter" people who stays up far too late when a story has me hooked and I just can't put it down. I fell asleep reading this. Three times. If this hadn’t been an ARC, I have to be honest, I think I would have put it down after the second time I nodded off and never looked back. So why the high rating?
I think this was a case of it's not you, it's me. I simply am not the right reader for this book. I’ve been reading (and loving) some books that crossed over into the horror genre lately and so I figured since I’d dipped my toes in, I may as well wade out a bit further. I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned what doesn't work for me, but I don't think this was a bad book at all, and can see it being great for other readers.
Wendig is clearly a great writer. While the story itself wasn’t for me, it was beautifully written, and the world-building was fantastic. I also loved the themes of generational trauma, toxic masculinity and breaking cycles of abuse that he worked into this story. But speaking of themes, my goodness did the author throw the kitchen sink at us here. Every single hot button political issue seemed to make its way in, despite most not given the time or depth they deserve. And Oliver has absolutely horrifying visions of pretty much every violent act of human atrocity you can think of. It read to me as if Wendig had too many ideas to feasibly fit into a single novel, but couldn’t give any of them up. And so the end product is both bloated and also full of things that weren’t explored enough. Some editing and subtlety would have worked wonders here.
I’m at a loss as to how to rate this one. I don’t want to mark it down too much for my lack of subjective enjoyment, but objectively I do feel some of my issues aren’t just a *me* thing. 4 “I’m going to let genre fans guide me here” stars… However, if you are not normally a horror fan, and old school Steven King doesn’t do it for you, I wouldn't recommend this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House - Del Ray Books for a copy of this book for review.
4.5 Stars This was an engrossing piece of epic fiction. Told over multiple perspectives, the author wove a complex, mind bending story, which blends together speculative fiction elements into a horror novel. The character development was key to this story, which addresses themes surrounding generation abuse and family. At its core, this is an emotional story surrounding family and generational abuse. I would recommend it to fans of these giant, epic horror stories in the vein of Stephen King.
This dark, supernatural book scared me to death. I'm not a huge fan of dark magic, but the author was a genius at weaving it in and out of the story that it did not affect my reading. It has been compared to Stephen King's Pet Sematary, an argumentative comparison. Beginning with a serial killer in the electric chair for the killing of 4 young girls, Edmund Reese is a number guru and begins his plot of escape. Just as the charge runs through his veins ....POOF!!!!....he is gone. The haunting on innocent victims continues. Is he dead or alive??
Main character Nate inherits his father's house under strange circumstances. After moving his wife , Mattie and son in with him, details come to life of his abusive father, as well as his ghost. It combines science fiction-time travel, time loops, doppelganger or life after death...I'm not sure what all was going on. I just know it was creepy. The inherited home is located near dark, abandoned coal mines at Ramble Rocks... where the serial killer carries his victims...so scary.
Nate's son, Oliver, awkward as most 15 year old teens, befriends Jake, a mysterious untrustworthy kid with some strange and dangerous ideas. It becomes bone-chilling and suspenseful with gore and violence intricately throughout. There were times I could not adhere to what was happening and this is probably due to the author's intelligent use of vague perceptions or maybe because I was reading it through my fingers over my eyes... Thanks NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Calling all fans of Blake Crouch and Stuart Turton!
Chuck Wendig’s The Book of Accidents is a great addition to the science fiction thriller category. While I originally thought this book would be more gothic in nature, (check out that fabulous cover!) it fits best in this genre. Be prepared to time travel through different dimensions and timelines with Nate Graves, as he fights to protect and save his family from from an evil serial killer that threatens to eliminate his world.
While the length of this book initially seemed intimidating, I easily flew through the pages. It is also written with a fun sense of humor, as highlighted by Maddie’s foul sailor mouth. The plot is clever, though not completely original (Think Back to the Future). I still felt invested in the characters and wanted to see how events were going to ultimately play out.
I do have one bone to pick with the nickname that Nate and Maddie use for Oliver. Would you really call your son Dude??
Overall, this book was not really a stand out for me, but I did enjoy the journey!
There was a lot going on in this incredibly atmospheric and creepy horror story.
Nate and Maggie return to their home town where memories of childhood trauma have been awakened by an old and dark magic. The safe haven they had hoped for is ripped apart when evil forces make moves to change the world as we know it. There were a few points where I was had no idea what was happening as the story jumps POVs frequently but I can't say more than that with out spoiling it. Lets just say that things eventually became clear, and quite frankly, a little bit terrifying. I really enjoyed the writing style and will check out other books by this author.
This book, The Book of Accidents had a lot of favorable buzz surrounding it when it came out, and a coworker of mine recommended it to me since she was in the middle of reading it. So of course, I put a hold on it since the synopsis looked fun with a striking cover to boot. I had no idea what I was getting into since the book summary hinted at a lot of things without giving anything away.
The story introduced our family of main characters moving to the boonies of Pennsylvania after they decided to move from the big city of Philadelphia. Nathan grew up in this small town with a sordid past full of eerie events and a renowned serial killer and brings his wife, Maddie, and his son, Oliver, along with him. The family descends into each of their own struggles fitting in and handling the weirdness that surrounds the small town which soon becomes a race of survival against outside forces and themselves. This book has a little of everything such as ghosts, demons, monsters, magic, serial killers, alternate realities, time travel, and other paranormal hi-jinks.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book. In fact, I think the more prominent reveal of this book was finding out what was going on as it threw many things at you. The story could have gone any way with the events that happened from strangers standing outside in the middle of the night, to ghosts of dead relatives, to a mysterious disappearance surrounding a murderer who has a hankering for numbers, to even a creepy tunnel filled with chilling random POVs, and a labyrinth of abandoned mine tunnels. A good aspect about this book was that it didn’t keep the reveals until the end of the book.
Things were discovered quite quickly especially after a character reveal I saw coming a mile away. There were three main POVs that this novel followed other than some throwaway chapters following here or there. The POV changes got to the point that they would even alternate between paragraphs. I for one, am not someone who likes too many POV switches in a story, but these switches were done right and each were distinguishable enough to not get lost in the pages.
The characters were one feature of the story that I really liked. Each character was flawed, and they were all developed so thoroughly. The novel examined different parts of their personality in different ways with different plot devices. Motivations of characters were also explored in depth. What I really loved though is that infuriating secrets that characters keep for the length of a whole story in other books were shared relatively early on. Not only were they shared in between the main characters, but the supporting cast were informed of the absurd surrounding events as well and even witnessed a couple of them occurring.
Almost all of the supporting characters were written compellingly while also going through character developments of their own. The backgrounds of numerous characters were delved into with childhood trauma and abuse explored extensively as well as the cycle of violence that comes with it.
I liked this book more than I thought I would. The story seemed to be a cross of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky and a Stephen King novel. I could list a plethora of things I liked about the book which has been done ad nauseam with other reviews, but instead I will list some of the things that other readers might not like. The story has some dark subject matter. The topic of child abuse is prevalent throughout the story, and it is not just mentioned as an off-screen thing. Scenes featuring it are shown multiple times up to an uncomfortable amount even for a horror reader like me.
Other dark topics are talked about as well, but the child abuse is featured more than anything else. Another thing that could dissuade some readers from reading this novel is just how jam packed and convoluted the story becomes. It is hard to track with how much is going on in the novel with overhanging stories that are left to the side until later in the book.
The Book of Accidents is a thought-provoking book full of interesting characters, and a complex and original plot full of twists and turns. The subject matter is dark so check the disclaimers if something might be too much. The grand scope of the setting really allows for future books to take place in a multiverse type of way like Stephen Kings books. I would definitely read another book set in the same universe and recommend this book to horror lovers of all kinds since it has little of everything.
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Book of Accidents.
I haven't read any books by this author before but the premise was so intriguing I was excited when my request was approved.
** Minor spoilers ahead **
The Book of Accidents is not a typical story; rather, it's a blend of genres that include supernatural, horror, science fiction, a little coming of age; it's about family, loyalty, love and the strength of friendship and belief.
When Nate's abusive father dies and leaves him his childhood home, he makes the reluctant decision to return to his hometown with his wife and sensitive son, Oliver, in tow.
It's not long when things become...odd.
And the family of three realize that the fate of their universe rests on their very human, fragile shoulders.
Good thing they're stronger than they look.
I liked Nate, Maddie and Olly; character development was good and they were relatable characters, people you would want to know in real life.
Fig was also a good person; he's not in it much but his loyalty to Nate and his family makes him a worthy character to mention.
There were aspects of the story I really enjoyed; Ramble Rocks as the origin of all that is wrong in all the worlds, the multiverse, Jake's true identity, how corruption and hate has twisted our world (and numerous variations) into something almost unbearable to live in.
There's a lot going on, as some reviewers noted, and sometimes it got confusing and muddled.
When I finished reading, I had a ton of questions:
Who/what is the demon? Why was Jake chosen as the vessel? Because his doppelgangers possesses certain psychic abilities? Is Reese's murders the turning point in hastening the destruction of his particular world? Why does Maddie possess supernatural artistic abilities? What does killing Reese prove or change anything? What's up with the lighting? Where did the Book of Accidents originate from?
The first half of the book kept me engaged; the last third dragged, especially as the showdown between Jake and Olly drew near.
The writing was good; I just wished the narrative was tighter, more focused on the fate of the universe(s) and why this family wields such influence and power on being able to save their world.
Wendig's "The Book of Accidents" is a must-read for 2021. It is a masterpiece of plotting and character development. The Graves family, consisting of Nate (not Nathan), Maddie, and Oliver is a family like no other, each struggling with demons, both personal and otherworldly. In an accident or coincidence, Nate inherits his father's home, a blessing and a curse as Nate (like anyone whoever met Carl) resents the curmudgeon. It's a move that takes the Graves out of the city (Philadelphia) and out into the country, but perhaps it's a move that takes them too close to a haunted tunnel, an old mine, a park filled with ghastly moving boulders. No longer a police officer, Nate is now a Fish and Game Officer. Oliver comes face to face with the school bullies on day one. Maddie retreats into her artist's studio where she seems to have fainting spells while working with a chainsaw. The new abode makes them all uncomfortable, particularly when Nate sees people lingering in the dark and his dead father roaming about. What makes this book work so brilliantly is that Wendig doesn't quite level with the reader where this epic is going or what the stakes are. Thus, you the reader will be completely unprepared and unmoored when everything explodes and everything stops making sense. All three members of the Graves family are important to the story. Not one of them carries it by themselves. Fate and free will play into this too as does empathy and lack of choice. The edges of reality become blurred and often our characters cannot discern dreams from wakefulness.
Then again, maybe what makes this work is Wendig throws everything in here from serial killers marching to the electric chair to devil spawn to betrayals to teenage angst to places that seem outside experience. This book is at once horror, crime fiction, speculative fiction, and family story.
You know it's a winner from the sparse opening pages and you keep hoping that it will live up to its promise throughout. Spoiler: it does.
If your looking for a reboot Stephen King type novel, this is it! Fantastic storyline, horror, thriller and mystery all in one. It takes off from page one and keeps running. Some head scratching but it all gets explained and then you'll palm your head be like..Ohhh!!!
I have been on a wild ride with this book. This is a good introductory to this authors work (and creepy mind).
There are several POV going on here and each tells a different aspect vision in the story of what they’ve seen or experienced. It’s very cleverly done. And the impact in the conclusion will leave you like a bomb dropping and going off.
I went into this knowing very little of what it was all about, I suggest you do the same.
“Pain is a part of who we are. You can’t destroy it, and you can’t hide from it.”
This book defies genre description, 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐲𝐦𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐲, 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭-𝐰𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐟𝐮𝐥, 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥, 𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐚𝐲, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐜𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐰𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧. If anyone other than Chuck Wendig wrote this multi-genre story it would have been a clusterfu#k of epic proportion. There may be a thing or two that i didn't like in those 544 pages, but these are like single dead pixels on a crazy large screen. They do no matter, therefore, are not worth mentioning.
“There is no quality of soul more subtle than non-violence and no virtue of spirit greater than reverence for life.”
Chuck Wendig weaves a spell-binding horror story using the haunted house trope to explore the hidden truth behind our personal demons, which worked pretty well at making the hairs on my neck and arms stand at attention. 𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐧𝐮𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐬𝐲𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐬, 𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐝𝐲𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐫𝐬. The Book of Accidents starts with a bang, from that first prologue we are thrown face first into a cryptic, gothic and horror tale. We are then introduced to the Graves family in a flash bang succession of chapters that leaves us with a sense of dread of what's to come. Every following chapter is taut with tension, suspense and foreboding that keeps building page after page. 𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐮𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭. Leaving us with the increasing awareness of the impending chaos that is waiting for us in the final stanza.
“The mind is less precarious than we think it is, Nate. Often, I believe it is our fear of losing it that’s more dangerous than actually losing it, if you’ll follow my logic. The fear of a thing is quite often worse than the thing we fear”
What made this story so brilliant, immersive and feel so alive are it's characters. Nathan, Maddie and Oliver are so tenderly complex, complicated and humanly flawed as the rest of us. Their humanity shines through this book giving us a stark contrast to the supernatural evil elements and entwined destiny of this story. Which only worked at highlighting their characters essence as they struggle and fight to survive against all odds. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬, 𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐭, 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐭, 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐥𝐲𝐬𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐨𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐛𝐨𝐧𝐝. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐮𝐬 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧, 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐠𝐨 𝐨𝐟 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐞, 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐮𝐬. The Book of Accidents is a brilliant example of how a master illuminates the darkness with his storytelling skills. Bravo Chuck Wendig, truly. The story was as explosive as it was quiet, we had a very detailed, rich and heart pounding tale, where family, freewill and morality hangs in the balance. Every thread got darker and darker as the story unfolds, making it impossible for us to tear ourselves away from it. This is so much more than a horror story and to anyone who appreciate the written world, this is a must read.
“Life is strange. It’s full of mistakes and regrets, and our minds are very good at bringing those out at the worst times, the times when we’re most vulnerable. Like dreams. The best we can do, I think, is to figure out how to move forward. How we correct the errors that we made to give some peace to ourselves.”
I like me a good multiverse story, and generally, this is a pretty good one. I'd have rated it much higher than three stars if not for one glaring issue I had with it.
THIS BOOK NEEDS AN EDITOR WITH A FUCKING CHAINSAW IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The book is extremely long winded. Almost every scene in the book just doesn't know when, how, or even if it should ever get to the point. It meanders all around the point, before eventually actually getting there.
You could probably shave a good quarter of the word count out of this book in just tightening scenes up, tightening the general writing up, and just getting the freaking point faster, and you wouldn't even notice the difference. When you can remove text from a book without impacting story or characters in any way, YOU SHOULD. This book really needed an editor to take a hatchet to it and cut away all of the superfluous text.
It's an enjoyable story with enjoyable characters, but good god did it need some trimming.
Okay, I wouldn’t say I’m really prepared to review this, but I also don’t want to wait too long, in case I forget something. So here goes nothing…
This was a crazy, creepy ride that had me yelling by myself while reading. It took me some time to really get into the story, but once I did, it was just one bizarre, what the hell, moment to the next! I found that I quickly became attached to the characters, especially Olly. He was just so sweet that I couldn’t help liking him.
The story had a lot of moving parts, which did get kind of confusing, but once I pushed through a certain point, I figured out what was going on. It wasn’t till nearly the end, but I recommend hanging in there till the end. It’s like all these things come together at the end and made my brain explode. Just craziness.
I highly recommend this one because it was well written and very entertaining. This is for suspense/thriller lovers who like science fiction too. Buckle in though cause this is intense!! And beware, there’s some violence, physical, and mental abuse in this one, so if those are triggers for you, steer clear!
Thanks so much to NetGalley, Del Ray Books, and Chuck Wendig for the opportunity to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion!!
Wow. Fucking WOW. I mean, what the hell else is there to say?
Clocking in at a hefty 540+ pages, Chuck Wendig's The Book of Accidents reads like the lovechild between Stephen King and Blake Crouch. This is a full-on horror novel, but Wendig elevates it with some really creative high-concept twists and turns (as well as some wickedly effective gore scenes) that takes what could ostensibly be a slasher/serial-killer story into some truly next-level shit. There's so damn much I want to talk about here, but can't and won't because I don't want to spoil too much of this darkly fantastic story for eager readers.
Former Philly cop Nate Graves moves his family back to the home he grew up in. His abusive, scumfuck of a father has just died and left the house to his son. Nate's own boy, Olly, is a special kid in the way horror novel kids of this sort often are - he's got some unique gifts that make him outstandingly empathetic but which also make the world and its very many problems heartbreakingly overbearing. We're introduced to Olly as he attempts to cope with the demands of a school shooting drill (a safety practice run whose now-necessary existence sends chills up my own spine as a father of two of young children and reminds me of just how good and truly fucked beyond repair this country is), but each bang of the pistol firing blanks shows him another dead kid in the hallway. The hope is that taking Olly out to the 13-acre homestead where Nate was raised will give the 15-year-old room to grow and find his place.
Since this is, first and foremost, a horror novel, go on and take a guess on how well that plan works out! Olly makes some friends. Olly makes some enemies. Nate takes a job as a Fish & Game officer. Wife, mother, and artist Maddie gets the urge to buy a chainsaw and carve owls that randomly disappear. And Nate sees the ghost of his dead father and a serial killer that was executed by electric chair years ago. You know, the usual.
But also very much not the usual. Here's where I hesitate to tell you any more and give you skinny on the whys and whats of it all. Because there is so goddamned much else happening here. Like, big, big, big stuff, and a freaking lot of it, too. We get ants marching in weird circles, deer bleeding worms from their freaking eyes, and --- nope, nope, stop. I'm not going to say anything more. But, god, I want to!
The Book of Accidents is a thick boy, and the kind of hefty horror novels I occasionally crave. This one kept me completely captivated the whole way through, the pages turning themselves almost as if by magic and fueled by my constantly burning curiosity of what was going to happen next. It reminded me a lot of the horror novels I loved from late '80s/early '90s-era Dean Koontz, but also Stephen King and Robert McCammon (I know Wendig is a fan of the latter, and McCammon, particularly, feels like a primary inspiration here), but with a fresh 21st Century coat of paint and modern-day recontextualization. I've loved everything I've read of Wendig's, but holy shit, man. This one just fires on all freaking cylinders and might be his best yet. I was more than happy to open the door into this world, and while I hated having to close the door behind me when I left, I left feeling completely full and satisfied. The big question isn't whether or not I'll reopen this particular door at some point in the future, but when.
This was my first Wendig book. I heard good things from reviewers I trust so I bought it. It started great and I liked the three main characters, but as the book went on my enjoyment started to bleed away and the book dropped from a 4 star to a 3 star and then finally a 2. My issues were:
1. It’s way too long. At least 200 pages could’ve been carved off to make it a much better book. The last 100 pages I just wanted to him wrap it up already. 2. The mom is ridiculous. She keeps leaving her kid/husband over and over for stupid reasons and I think it was just to move the plot and the male characters into situations to create drama. She started strong, but just got stupider as the book went on. 3. I thought this was a haunted house/horror story and it really isn’t. That’s probably on me for not realizing what I was getting into, but the book went in a direction I didn’t like. The book is a mash up of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and weirdly a serial killer book. That would be fine if it was what I wanted. I wanted a haunted house type story. 4. Stephen King and Blake Crouch already wrote this book.
*possible slight spoilers if you’ve read certain books ahead*
My fourth issue normally wouldn’t bother me because authors often write similar characters/themes/situations, but the last 300 pages felt like a mash up of Dark Tower, The Talisman, and Dark Matter. All those books did this better with more memorable characters. Wendig also inserts so many pop culture references (and a few political ones) that it started to pull me out of the story. It didn’t feel natural more like, “hey let me insert all these things I like/want to say in my behemoth of a book”. In the beginning he says he wrote this for himself and I believe that. I think this is his version of King/Straub/Crouch /Shea and others who’ve told this same story. It disappointed me because he’s a good writer. I think if I hadn’t read as much horror, fantasy and sci-fi this would be a really good book, but I couldn’t help seeing the similarities to all those other books. I just can’t give this more than 2 stars even though I liked his writing and the first 200 pages.