Saturday, June 3, 2023

Sundial by Catriona Ward


This is a frustrating review to write because when I first picked up the book, I thought this was going to be a five star read. It employs so many of my favorite tropes-- creepy small towns, dark family secrets, toxic relationship dynamics, evil children-- and the author has such an accessible, suspenseful writing style. The idea of a creepy hippie commune out in the middle of the desert was SO good and I was excited to figure out what was going on with Rob and her family.

I ended up getting really put off by the animal and child abuse that are themes in this book, though. I didn't see a lot of reviews warning people about that, and it is BRUTAL. I'm not particularly put off by animal deaths in the sense that while I don't like them, they aren't deal-breakers for me if they aren't gratuitous, but this felt gratuitous. The child abuse and dangerous situations for the children in this book are also pretty brutal. Several people in this book are straight up psychos.

Which brings me to another point: it's hard to root for anyone in this book because everyone is so awful. Towards the end, I felt like the book kind of jumped the shark and I began to think, Really? REALLY? It felt like it was trying so hard to be weird and edgy that it ended up not being cohesive. Is it paranormal or isn't it? What is going on with the family? These questions are never answered in a satisfactory way. And while I liked the vibes, you can't write a whole book entirely based on vibes. GIVE ME ANSWERS.

I'm giving this a three. I didn't hate it and there were several things I loved about it, but the ending left me wanting more than I got (and this book seriously needs to come with a warning-- yeesh).

3 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.