Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Published by Chicken House on January 7, 2014
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Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest: From the author of the Printz Honor Book STOLEN, the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.NOTE: I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation in return for writing this candid review on the product.
Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd's dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl's broken body. "Gone," he says, then retreats into silence.
What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent -- isn't he? Before he's convicted, she's got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee's charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her -- the kinds of games that can kill?
First off, I just wanted to say that this book is nothing like Stolen, Lucy Christopher's other book. I absolutely loved Stolen, and I probably wouldn't have ever requested this book from Chicken House on NetGalley if it weren't for the fact that Christopher's name was tacked on it. When reading this book, I hate to say that I expected more from Christopher, but I did. I expected to be emotionally invested in the characters, which didn't happen. The one thing that did happen was the imagery.
The imagery in The Killing Woods, like in Stolen, is amazing. I could picture Darkwood in my mind like I was actually there. The details and precision in explaining Darkwood was just astounding, and it reminded me of why I loved Christopher's writing in the first place. But like I said above, I wanted to be emotionally invested in the characters. Well, I wasn't. In fact, I was pretty apathetic toward the cast. And after learning how Ashlee really died, I couldn't care less. I was pretty neutral throughout the entire book as far as feelings go.
Also there was Damon and Emily, our two narrators. Yes, the book is in split points of views. I honestly liked Damon, to be fair. Emily? Not so much. I've decided that I only liked Damon because I felt bad for him. Sure, he shouldn't have been on drugs and all, but it would suck to not remember. Plus his girlfriend died. I had minor sympathy for him, but it was still there.
Emily was a flat character without substance. I didn't like her at all. She was too soft (except when she tackled Kirsty), and she just didn't appeal to me as a "heroine." I found myself rooting for her to be the next victim. Simply put, she just really irritated me.
And I guessed the murderer about 20 pages into the book. That isn't a good thing. I'm usually really bad at guessing the killer, so when I actually do, it must be pretty obvious. It just irritated me that this book was a murder/mystery/thriller, and yet I still guessed the killer before any real hints were given. It was just a bit too predictable.
Something I did like about the book, though, was the creepy and ominous "Game" (okay, well, the Game ended up not being that creepy and ominous but the buildup toward the revelation regarding the Game was great!). I also liked the fact that I liked Ashlee less and less as the book went along. I love books where the main character(s) slowly uncover secrets about a murdered person. It reminds me of a scandalous Bones episode.
In conclusion, I thought this book was okay. I'm not too overly excited about it, but I think it's worth a read if you liked Stolen. Just don't have your hopes up too high. I think I would've liked The Killing Woods a lot more if I hadn't read Stolen first.