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The first of two suspense thrillers with an intriguing mystery and plenty of romance, exploring such issues as religious fanaticism, genetic identity, and experimentation.

Thirty-four kids are missing, vanished without a trace. Meanwhile, Genie Magee, 15, is imprisoned behind bars at home by her mother, who claims her soul is possessed by the Devil and is encouraged by the sinister Reverend Schneider. When Genie’s boyfriend Rian sets her free, they end up at a remote farmhouse downriver, where all may not be as it seems. Then Genie meets Denis who has been missing two years now, but hasn’t grown an inch; while Rian is haunted by Renée, who insists she’s not actually dead. Soon they discover the terrible truth about Reverend Schneider—and worse, Genie is next.


 

Rating: 3.5/5

Hmm… I’m not very sure what I feel about this book. It was not really “Meh” but it wasn’t really “OMG I LOVE IT” either. So I guess it’s just… Ok? I’ll split this review into the good and the not-so-good to explain why I came to this conclusion of just “Ok”.

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The good:

  1. The pig – GUYS THE PIG WAS TOO CUTE I JUST COULDN’T TAKE IT.
  2. The romance – Even though a lot of Rian’s actions were motivated by his love for Genie, the romance wasn’t overly mushy, it wasn’t overly prominent, and it also didn’t get in the way when they were actually trying to do something productive.
  3. The setting – I have never seen an orchard/farm before so I wouldn’t know how accurate the depiction was, but the setting of the book seemed pretty realistic in my opinion. At least I could imagine it.
  4. The plot – I liked the whole concept of teleportation and eternal life. The mechanics of teleportation in this book were well explained enough for a layman like me to understand.
  5. The little bits of humour – It really helped in lightening the atmosphere of the book a little, especially after we read about what Genie’s mom and neighbours did to her.

Rian sat down. ‘Duly noted, sir. Genie and I met in high school and I intend to be with her the rest of my life.’

Marshall looked at them both a while and slowly nodded. ‘That what you want, girl?’

Genie frowned, snatching a look at the dog sitting looking quizzically at her. ‘Well, I’m torn now. If Moucher (the dog) doesn’t ask me to marry him first.’

 

The not-so-good:

  1. The characters – They actually seemed… Pretty dull to me. I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same, but I felt that they lacked a certain depth to them which made them seem sort of… Unreal. I mean, they all seemed like pretty nice people (except for Reverend Schneider and Genie’s mom), but they just didn’t feel very realistic to me. The only one who seemed to be more human was Officer Miller, especially when he was contemplating about the rights and wrongs of letting two “runaway” teenagers go off on their own. However, the other characters just sort of fell flat for me.
  2. The writing – Oh my goodness, this was the worst part of the book. There were times where the writing was ok, but there were also times where the writing was just like URGH. It gets pretty choppy sometimes, and other times there are punctuation and grammatical errors. Just to give an example:

They both heard the roll of distant thunder. They glanced back to the looming mountain. Lightning momentarily illuminated dense clouds. It was going to be real bad up there. Spurlake’s street lights twinkled in the distance. They’d get the wort of the storm. That was the problem of living next door to a mountain. Probably why most sensible people left so quickly when the gold ran out.

 

Overall, this wasn’t a terrible book. I’m looking forward to reading the next book and fingers crossed that the writing will be better.

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