Saturday, April 24, 2010

Neverland by Douglas Clegg


Synopsis From Book Jacket:

For years, the Jackson family has vacationed at Rowena Wandigaux Lee's old Victorian house on Gull Island, a place of superstition and legend off the southern coast of the U.S. One particular summer, young Beau follows his cousin Sumter into a hidden shack in the woods—and christens this new clubhouse "Neverland."

Neverland has a secret history, unknown to the children...

The rundown shack in the woods is the key to an age-old mystery, a place forbidden to all. But Sumter and his cousins gather in its dusty shadows to escape the tensions at their grandmother's house. Neverland becomes the place where children begin to worship a creature of shadows, which Sumter calls "Lucy."

All gods demand sacrifice...

It begins with small sacrifices, little games, strange imaginings. While Sumter's games spiral out of control, twisting from the mysterious to the macabre, a nightmarish presence rises among the straggly trees beyond the bluffs overlooking the sea.

And when Neverland itself is threatened with destruction, the children's games take on a horrifying reality—and Gull Island becomes a place of unrelenting terror.
 
I was given the chance to read this by the publicist and I have to tell you I was really excited to get it in the mail.  I was giddy the rest of the week, antsy with anticipation, wanting to dive into this as soon as time allowed.  The synopsis sucked me in, the cover gave me the chills, and the illustrations throughout the book were brilliantly done.  So when the day came for me to finally get started on it, I was on cloud nine.
 
Then reality set in and I was left feeling a little gray, a little down in the dumps.  I don't want anyone to think that this book wasn't good or didn't have a storyline that wouldn't horrify you, because it does.  The character of Sumter belongs in the pantheon of "demonic" children, right alonside Damian and the gang from "Children of the Corn." 
 
My problem with the book and in writing this review, is that the book left me feeling nothing once I was done with it.  There was no lasting memory or image from the book that was burned into my brain for all time.  Which is what I want from a horror novel, I want to be so horrified that I can't wait to read the book again in order to feel those goosebumps raising on my arms and find my breath catching as I get to a really scary scence. 
 
This one just left me a little underwhelmed and a little disappinted by the "surprise" explanation given to explain Lucy.  Anyone who is paying attention to the story should be able to figure it out way before the big reveal.  There is no shock or awe to it and the way it's explained feels hurried, almost as if it was an afterthought.
 
I wish I could say I either loved or hated this book, but I can't.  All I can say is that it's ok, nothing to horrible but nothing that screams at me to read it again.  I do think it's worth reading if you are a big fan of the genre and enjoy being scared, even if the thrills don't last long after the last page.

11 comments:

Alexia561 said...

Sorry to hear that this one was a disappointment for you. I'm not big on horror, so this is probably too scary for me even though it left you flat. Great review!

Melissa said...

Sorry that the book left you flat. The synopsis does sound promising. Thanks for the review.

Zia said...

Thank you for your honest review. I know how hard it is to write one when you've liked it okay but was left underwhelmed.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Fantastic review Ryan - even on a book you did not enjoy you handled this graciously and I enjoyed radign about it.

Staci said...

Loved your words on this one..I got the chills from the creepy cover. I wished that it had left you wanting to read it again!

Stacy said...

that stinks! i've been wanting to read this book...had the same anticipation as it sounds like you've had...but to have it leaving you flat ~ oh that's a true bummer!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Sorry to hear the book was kind of blah for you. The cover and synopsis do both look and sound great. Thanks for the honest review. :)

StephanieD said...

Oh, don't you hate that? I read one just a few weeks ago that I could not wait to buy. Combed bookstores all over for it but once I finally read it, although it was well-written it just didn't fully embrace its promise.

Rabid Fox said...

Too bad the book fell short of the mark. It sounds like a compelling read. I may still give it a go if I come across it ... ya just never know.

Stephanie said...

It's a shame you were underwhelmed by this, especially after anticipating it with such excitement.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

I know what you mean. You really do want a horror novel to stay with you and to be good enough that you would read it again. I know one of these for you is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. For me, it's Hell House by Richard Matheson. Another good one is Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. I thought this book sounded good when I've seen it around the blogs, but now I probably won't rush out and get it. That being said, I still may read it someday.

Great review!