In some ways, I guess it’s a surprise I picked this up, since it relies heavily on horror tropes and on the reader recognising horror tropes and horror movies and sly little references. That’s never really been my thing, though one or two authors have tempted me into that realm, or interesting concepts, etc. Anyway, the blurb tempted me in despite my total wussiness, and actually, I can’t say I was ever really creeped out.
It follows three women in the present as they make a movie about events of the past, when a girls’ school seemed cursed and some girls died in weird and unpleasant ways. It starts to seem like maybe the curse is real, because weird things keep happening around these three women now in the present. Or is it just the movie getting under their skins?
The book plays with that ambiguity throughout, and it feels like it’s building toward something explosive and genuinely frightening — there is a real tension and weirdness to it, but for me it never quite came off. The revelations that happen actually diminish the climax of it: now you know what’s going on, it seems much more mundane, even when weird stuff is still happening. It didn’t hold onto enough of the unknowable weirdness to really be unsettling. In the end, you get some answers, and for me at least, it was too many answers. It never managed to reach the fever pitch it was trying to build — I didn’t get even a little bit unsettled.
One thing that did work is the charge between three of the female characters — and the love between two of the characters in the past/flashback portions of the book. Those relationships work very well, and the way those relationships are far from idyllic, but sometimes capture moments of bliss, really works out for me.
Rating-wise, I feel like 2 is pretty fair. I didn’t DNF it, so there was stuff that kept me hanging on… but it was 600+ pages of waiting for it to live up to the promises it was making, and for me, it didn’t.