Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher **Review**

The Killing Woods
Series: None
Pages: 384
Publisher: Chicken House
Release date: 3rd October 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:
Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.

The Killing Woods is a book that I looked at for a while before deciding to finally buy it, and then a bit more before I decided to read it. I just wasn't sure about it. The factor that finally persuaded me to pick it up was the fact that Lucy Christopher was going to be at the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) in London, and I was going to be there too. I wanted to try and read as many of the authors as I could before I went, and Lucy was one of those that I had yet to read.

Any doubts I had originally held about the book were almost immediately put to rest when I started reading it. I found the style really easy to get into, and I found both Emily and Damon's voices real and distinguishable enough that they didn't clash. The story gets going quickly and I was immediately sucked into the book. 30 pages in, I was hooked.
However, although there is a lot of tension all the way through the book, and I was constantly wondering if it really was Emily's dad that had killed Ashlee, or someone else (maybe even Damon?!), there were certain chapters that I felt slowed the pace a little bit. I didn't feel as though they really took the story anywhere new, which would have kept the pace of the plot up at a steady speed. Other parts of the story, however, more than made up for this. The last 80 pages or so were really fast-paced and I found that I couldn't put it down at this point!
I also had a lot of fun coming up with my own theories about what really happened and who really did it. I had my eye on a couple of different characters who I thought could easily have done it; one was a suspect and one was the killer. I didn't feel as though I'd been cheated though, being able to guess the killer, because although I guessed the person, I didn't guess the circumstance, and it didn't take away from the tension or the drama.

I did have a small problem with the way some of the book was written. Mostly the prose was engaging and really transported me into the world that the book creates – especially when the characters are in Darkwood (which, despite everything, I would quite like to visit ... if it's real ...) – however, I was pulled out of the story on the odd occasion by the odd phrases that the author sometimes used. These were mostly metaphors or similes that were being used to describe how something/someone looked or felt, but I often found myself thinking, 'What does that even mean?'.
It didn't make too much of an impact on the story because it didn't happen all the time, but it was enough for me to notice and feel the need to say something.

All in all I did think that The Killing Woods was a good read. It was tense and mysterious, a little bit strange, and quite absorbing. Although I did have some problems with it, I was mostly gripped all the way through.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery – especially if you like trying to work out 'whodunnit' – or to anyone who likes their books to have a bit of a thrill element.
3.5 stars


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