Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: The Silent Land

This was my first book of 2013.  Researching books is just as enjoying to me as reading them and I found The Silent Land when I was browsing for book recommendations on my laptop.  Step two was to go to the Barnes and Noble or Amazon website and take a look at the overview and the reader reviews.  This struck me as an interesting story so I bought it and I was not disappointed.

What is it about?
In the French Pyrenees, a young married couple is buried under a flash avalanche while skiing. Miraculously, Jake and Zoe dig their way out from under the snow—only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. Their hotel is devoid of another living soul. Cell phones and land lines are cut off. An evacuation as sudden and thorough as this leaves Jake and Zoe to face a terrifying situation alone. They are trapped by the storm, completely isolated, with another catastrophic avalanche threatening to bury them alive . . . again. And as the couple begin to witness unset­tling events neither one can ignore, they are forced to con­front a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit.

The good stuff:
 Actually, there wasn't much I didn't like.  The story hooks you almost immediately and when the avalanche hits, you feel as though you are stuck in the snow with Zoe.  You begin to panic with her and hold your breath, waiting for her rescue.  There are very few characters in the story so I really felt I had time to get to know Jake and Zoe.  I found myself finding clues to what could be happening all throughout the story, I was constantly re-evaluating and re-thinking my predictions and theories about how the story would end.  I had it pretty much figured out about three quarters of the way through but that did not take away from the story at all.  I stayed up until 2:00am to finish it and was extremely satisfied by the ending.  I found myself in tears toward the last chapter but I did not leave the story depressed.  I stayed awake for another hour just mulling over what had happened and putting all of the pieces together.

I also liked that this book wasn't one of those stories that takes a good plot and drags it out until it has died ten times over.  It was under 300 pages and I felt that this was a perfect length for the story to play out from beginning to end.

I haven't met anyone I know that has read this book so I'm interested to hear what others think.  It almost gave me an Stephen King or an X-files feel at some parts (which is one of my favorite shows of all time).  :)

Book two for 2013 and also one I fell upon accidentally as I was browsing for interesting reads on the net.  Technically, A Certain Slant of Light is listed as a YA novel, I felt it was more for adults.

What was it about?
In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen—terrified, but intrigued—is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.
After benignly haunting a series of people for 130 years, Helen meets a teenage boy who can see her and together they unlock the mysteries of their pasts. 

The good stuff:
Again, I really liked this story and stayed up quite late to finish it.  It is a haunting story that leaves you feeling entranced well after it ends.  Yes, the book is about teenagers but the ghosts are not teenagers and do not act young at all.   I loved that this was a unique plot that hasn't been overused like the endless vampire/werewolf/witch stories (which I still get sucked into) and the reader can really feel the love and longing of the main characters and their dilemma as they struggle to find an ethical way to be together.

The stuff that could have been better:
I actually thought this story was too short.  I wanted more James and more Helen and more moments together.  The ending was a bit far fetched but also wrapped the story up perfectly.

All in all... loved this one just as much as The Silent Land.  Two for two is a great start to the year!

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