Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

DNF @ p. 114

I love Gothic horror and the fact that this is set in a creepy boarding school in Patagonia with Argentinian characters seemed like a slam dunk. I'm sad that it wasn't, because I was really, really looking forward to this book and was so sure that it would be good. Here's the problem, though: good writing is like a carrot on a stick. You want to withhold enough information to keep the reader interested and make them think that they have a chance at catching the carrot; but if you hold the carrot too far away and don't reveal enough information, the reader will be bored and confused and will wander away in search of something more interesting.

The plot of this story is very difficult to explain. There are two timelines (I think, although both appear to be happening concurrently), with two narrators. One is a young teacher named Mavi, the other is a mysterious crystal being named Angel. There's a curse on the school. There's a student missing. Something creepy is happening. And don't worry, the book will keep reminding you how creepy it is; even when it isn't.

I found the timeline really confusing and the storyline was really disorganized. I kept waiting for things to click into place, but that never happened. I know people harangue authors for info-dumps, but I would actually prefer a well-written info-dump if it was interesting to keeping the reader totally in the dark. I love the cover for this book and I thought the atmosphere of this book was really well done, with regard to the arctic setting and the dilapidated mansion, and I really wanted to love it for being infused with South American folklore, but the pacing and story were just totes off.

Your mileage may vary with this one, and if this ends up being one of your top books for fall, more power to you. I guess it depends on how you feel about going into a book totally cold and-- based on other reviews I saw-- not getting to find out anything until the end. A similar book to this is HOUSE OF LEAVES, which I also couldn't get into. So if you like HOUSE OF LEAVES, you will probably like THE TENTH GIRL. I have so many other ARCs that I'd rather read than spending anymore time with this one, so I'm sorry to say I'm ghosting THE TENTH GIRL and leaving it on unread.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

1.5 out of 5 stars

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