Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Cellar: Natasha Preston

Rating: 6.5/10 
Series: The Cellar #1
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Kidnapping
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Recommended For: Fans of the Body Finder
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 347
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought from Powells

Goodreads Synopsis: Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….

I'm actually being good this time, and writing this review less than a day after I finished it. YAY ME! You know what that means? Everything about this book is fresh in my mind. The first thing I would like to establish are my extremely mixed feelings regarding this book. The really good part of it was that it was a page turner, and the whole, "I couldn't put it down once" phrase applied. The bad part is that I was beginning to feel bored once Summer was kidnapped, which was about 40 pages into the book. 

So how could I be bored and have this be a page turner all at the same time? 

Well....I don't know how that could happen either. I credit my interest in this book to my not having read a book where the protagonist gets kidnapped in probably over a year. So that would credit a large portion of my like/dislike for this book. That book I read a year ago (January 8, 2014- according to Goodreads) was The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting. One of the reasons (okay, the only one) that my "Recommended For" section says "Fans of the Body Finder" is because of the parallels I drew between the two books. 

BOTH books had kidnappings done by psychopaths that want to take care of their girlfriends

That fact might seem small and insignificant to someone who hasn't read either book, but that is the entire basis of The Cellar's plot. While The Last Echo had a lot more to its plot, I still think that its freaky how similar the two books are.

On a completely non-plot based factor, the covers are freakishly the same. The Body Finder Quartet has a theme where every cover has a simple picture of a flower. I'm not exactly clear why or what the significance of that is which may be because it was over a year ago when I was no where near book reviewing, so I had just floated through books like a little bee to multi-colored flowers (no pun intended). The Cellar's cover however does have a lot of significance because it was flowers that Colin/Clover renamed the girls he kidnapped and because of what flower symbolize in our world. 

The cover of the version of The Cellar I read gives a much darker, grim feeling of something dark, dank, disgusting, and a soul-sucking void of torture. When in actuality, the cellar was fully furnished with a kitchen, shower, bedroom, etcetera. The title 'The Cellar' also seems misleading to myself. Preston truly delves into the horrors of a psychopath in this book, so much in a way that makes you question your own sanity, which is what a psychopath would want (I'm just guessing because I have never met, or wish to meet a psychopath). With the emotions she evokes, the thoughts she provokes, one would expect a more twisted title. Something double-meaning(ed), simple, silent, and deadly. Everything I'm obviously over thinking. 

The narration was one thing I loved and hated with this book. The Cellar was narrated by three people -Summer/Lily, Colin/Clover, and Lewis- and perfectly interspersed with flash backs. What I loved was Lewis' desperation in trying to find his girlfriend, and Colin/Clover's inside look into the criminal mind. Summer/Lily's narration however seemed like nothing special. I feel an urge to call it flat, but as the same time she was full of desire to escape the cellar and wanted to get back home like any normal person would in her situation. I know she reacted the way she 'should' have (or was expected to), and there's nothing I can specifically pinpoint about her voice that I didn't like. 

I just didn't. That's the truth.   

This phrase is a guarantee to get me locked up in a mental asylum, or just a sign of Natasha Preston's good writing but, "I loved Colin/Clover". He wasn't on the villain-you-love-to-hate level, but something even deeper and subtler because he actually believed what he was doing was right. The same way you would say "McDonalds is unhealthy, and Exercise is good for you" is how he justified murdering 'dirty' prostitutes and kidnapping girls to keep them 'safe' and 'pure'. 

Conclusion: This book made me very conflicted because of the narration, plot, and twisted mindset of 'the Flowers' captor that was gripping, yet not completely satisfying at the same time. I will definitely be rereading this in about a year to see how my opinion might change.   

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