Iain Reid’s first novel (I’m Thinking of Ending Things) was a brain bending horror trip that made us demand more from its author. Tomorrow (September 4) his follow up novel FOE will be released in the U.S. I had the opportunity to read it early.
This review will be spoiler free. However, I make no claims that this review will not hint at some of the plot. If this is a concern, I can tell you with full-confidence to just stop reading this and go buy the book. It is fantastic.
I was not sure Iain Reid could pull it off again. After his last book I knew to expect the unexpected and to look for clues. Mr. Reid did a fantastic job of still delivering twists and surprises that caught me very off guard. Early on I realised he was playing with the words themselves to tip us off that something odd is coming for one of the characters. And yet FOE goes on leaving the door clearly open for the reader to guess. You will guess wrong. I got exactly what I was hoping for and more.
FOE clearly shows that the author has matured as a writer. Instead of playing with settings and unique situations he delivers most of the book in one small place: a farm house in the middle of nowhere. The whole book is an interesting narrative that at the end will make you really think about relationship dynamics. I have found myself thinking about this book many times long after it was over. This time Mr. Reid is sending us a message and it is pretty spectacular.
I recieved an Advanced Copy of the Book Sadie by Courtney Summers from the publisher. In fact, they sent me 3 copies and 2 fliers about this book so they are expecting big things from this YA thriller. Does it live up to the hype?
In short, yes for the most part. This book has an intriguing story as well as some interesting and diverse settings. However, it relies heavily on a gimmick.
Every chapter focusses on one girl, Sadie of course, but it is told through two perspectives. The first perspective is Sadie herself as she is looking for her “Father” who she knows killed her sister. She disappears from her life and is hunting him down. The second perspective is through a transcript of a podcast (think Serial) where they are trying to find Sadie the missing girl. This concept is wildly appealing to me and has future potential for Adult Fiction as well as True Crime.
As much as I could not stop reading this book at times I felt the execution of the dual narrator was flawed. Some chapters felt out of order. The idea of reading a podcast as they are piecing it together (sometimes wrongly) and then reading what actually happened is fantastic when it works. However, sometimes we read what actually happened from Sadie’s perspective and then read a podcaster try to piece it together. This falls flat when we already know the truth. The thing that makes this book also has a way of killing it at times.
I really liked some of the characters that appear throughout this book. Sadie is not one of them. She is a fierce, bad-ass who will stop at nothing to kill her “father”. She is a fantastic main character but not very likeable.
In short, this book packs a huge punch that will hurt sometimes and will also leave you breathless. It has its flaws but they are easily looked over for what this book achieves in plot.