Sep 22, 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: September 18, 2012
Pages/Format: 294, ARC

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: OMGosh! (No spaces inbetween letters = one word.)

When I first heard about this book, I have no idea why I wanted to read it: a party full of teenagers who are stuck on an island, and someone's killing them? Spooky. Creepy. Horror. NOT MY KIND OF THING. (There's a reason I stay away from most horror movies--gore is gross and I still think that someone is watching me when I go to sleep. Thanks, Paranormal Activity.) But for some reason I wanted to read Ten. So I did. (Finally). I was prepared to be scared (check!), and while it wasn't as horrific and graphic as I thought it was going to be, for my first horror novel, Ten was murderous. (Pun intended.)

I had a little bit of trouble getting into the book, and I was slightly bored until certain things (read the book to figure out what "things" are) happened. Of course, being me, I try to find excuses for why I don't like something in a book that 1) I've been anticipating or 2) has an author I've associated with. (I'm not the best at being mean!) So my justification for this is this: in a typical horror movie with teenagers, it starts with teens partying, drinking booze, and having sex. (Not quite what happened in Ten, if you're wondering.) It begins like that to make you think nothing bad could or will happen. Also, the viewer is just waiting for something bad/scary/horrific to happen, so until that happens, it's kind of dull, but you're on edge. Everything is building up until something bad does happen, and then BAM!--you're in a horror novel, and you're scared. People always get taken by surprise, and it makes it all mesh together perfectly. My final complaint is the death themselves. I don't know why I'm saying this, but I feel like they could've been more graphic and gory. The deaths--or death?--somewhat disappointed me, and I was prepared to be super duper uber scared, and I wasn't. Of course, if they were more graphic and Friday the 13th-ish, I may not have liked that, either. (That movie ruined me. I can't do horror, like, ever.) So there's that.

Now for the positives, which totally outweigh the cons. This book accomplishes what I believe it's supposed to accomplish: telling a good, albeit scary, story, that doesn't really scar you for life. (By "scar", I mean: "I can't ever watch or read a horror novel again I'm so scared I hate Halloween my life is over someone hold me." That's why I don't read Stephen King novels.) This is a book that should not be read at night when everyone else in the house is sleeping and the only light is coming from the TV and your booklight. (Even worse, I'm on a top bunk, so I can't see if someone crawls into my room and pops up to say "Boo! I'm gonna kill you!") Yet that's exactly what I did. You know what's very little fun and not very scary? Going to a haunted house in the daylight. The same goes for horror novels. It just takes away the necessary fear factor that comes with the book. So, why you shouldn't read the book in the dark, you should. (For dramatic effect, read in the dark. Minor light okay. Or read in an huge house on an isolated island for major dramatic effect.)

The book would be nothing without the characters. (I mean, a killer on an island with no people? Boring.) I liked Meg and could kind of relate to her: she's best friends with someone (Minnie) who isn't really a great friend and who is kind of a loose cannon, and at points I was just waiting for Minnie to explode. Minnie, by the way, isn't my favorite person in the world. She's a crappy friend and a total you-know-what. Then there's T.J., who both Meg and Minnie are in love with. He seems like a good guy, for reasons I cannot share. Then there's Kenny and Nathan. Kenny is just kind of there, and Nathan's that kid in class that you hate and just want to shut up. Kumiko and Gunner are an odd but cute people, and Lori doesn't seem like the kind of person to be at such a party. Ben appears to be the cute guy there. And Vivian is like the female version of Nathan, but Miss Perfect and everything-must-go-my-way. Ugh. (Oh, and if you're reading this, Gretchen, thanks for describing a character as looking like the girl in The Ring. That definitely freaked me out at night. And made me feel watched.) I'd like to say more about the characters, but that would give too much away. *Insert evil laugh here.*

I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Ten, since it's really not my kind of thing. But for some reason, I want to read horror and thriller novels lately. And Ten helped satiate that thirst for blood without vampires and werewolves. Ten could be a number of things: a horror story for the night, a way to scare your little sister. For me, it was a great read that I devoured in the dark, hiding in my blankets, being afraid to get up and use the bathroom. The next time I'm in the middle of nowhere, I'll think of Ten and freak. That makes it a memorable book, which is always a good thing. Also, when I got to certain points in the book, I wish I could've seen my face. Seriously. First I thought I knew who the killer was. Then I didn't. Then I did. Then I didn't. Then I did. And then something happened and I was all "I KNEW IT!" I think my feet did some kicking. It's always a good thing when a book gets a reaction out of me. 

Ten was tenrifying, haunting, and a killer novel. It makes me want to read McNeil's past and future novels (especially if more are like Ten). If you haven't read this book, I suggest you get right on it. Because if you don't? Your doom may come swiftly.

And while you're here, look at the button on my sidebar (to your right!) and join the Army of Ten!

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Pretty much.
Would I reread it? Possibly. (The only reason I say no is because I know what will happen.)
Would I purchase it? Already done!
Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

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