Happy Fourth of July, for everyone in America!
I’ve just noticed I’ve been reading a lot more horror books recently (Amityville Horror, Haunting of Hill House, and now this). This is strange, because I’m actually not a huge horror fan. I’ll watch a movie or read a book on occasion, but to read three in a month’s time is not normal for me.
However, if there is one author I could say shaped my fondness for scary stories, it is R. L. Stine. I discovered his Goosebumps books when I was eight or nine and while I haven’t read one of his children/teen books for years, I still hold a fondness for his writing. He is the only author I read as a child who made me terrified to go to sleep at night—not sure if that’s a compliment.
Anyway, when I was stalking the shelves of my local library, I was thrilled to come across an adult book by him, as I had no idea he wrote any adult books. And boy, I had no idea what I was in for.
Release: Oct. 12, 2012
Synopsis: Travel writer Lea Sutter journeys to a small island off the coast of South Carolina just as a massive hurricane is approaching. She barely escapes its fury, awakening to find bodies covering the island and few survivors. As the sky begins to rain blood, she sees two beautiful twin boys walking towards her. They claim to be orphans and Lea impulsively decides to bring them home to her family in Long Island. But all is not bright in the future and murder and deception will destroy their family.
This book was enjoyable, but it has a ridiculous amount of issues with it. There were sub-plots that went nowhere, there was not a plot twist I did not figure out a hundred pages before it was fully ‘revealed,’ and the plot crisscrossed so many genres even I was confused. Let me explain.
First, let’s get to the title, since it is the first thing you see when you pick up a book. Not only is the title only a small scene, but it was never a recurring theme. I kept assuming that the blood rain had something to do with the boys, but no, it was just an interesting scene. I’m pretty sure Stine (or his publishers) picked it out because it sounded cool, but because it fit the book.
The book is divided into four parts, each ending with a slight cliffhanger. While the first part takes place on the island, the other three take place in Long Island, making me question why Stine decided to divide them up at all.
There are a lot of characters, and most of them play a relatively small part with no character features but their positions (this person is this character’s friend, or parent, etc.). A few of the main characters—the twins, Lea, Lea’s husband Mark—are decently developed, but for the most part no one else is. Often times I was highly confused about who was who save for their names.
I will say that I loved the first part when Lea is on the island. There is an ominous sense of doom and if the entire book had taken place on the island, I think I would have loved this book…but it didn’t.
Another thing I enjoyed were the twin’s accents (bruvvers for brothers and things like that), which was described in the book as being a mix between British and Irish. This, I thought, was an interesting additive to their characters.
If you are not fond of tons of swearing, stay away from this book! I myself don’t mind the occasional swearing in books, but the constant F-bombs got tiring, to say the least. There are also slightly descriptive sex scenes which I had to skip over, but if you don’t mind either of those things, this won’t bother you.
I feel as if anything else I will talk about will spoil something, so to be safe I’m moving into the spoiler section.
I mentioned earlier that there were a lot of subplots that went nowhere. Here are a few examples. Andy Pavano is a young police officer who is in love with this girl Sari but finds out she’s married (why do I care?). Mark, Lea’s husband, is having an affair with his secretary Autumn (she has a sister named Summer, btw, which I found kind of comical). Andy witnesses a young boy Derek bullying some other kids, but Derek then gets introduced as a bully later on so why do we need this scene? These are just some of the sub-plots/scenes that go nowhere and add nothing to the story.
Also, there are so many characters! There are multiple students at the middle school that are mentioned in passing, as well as their parents. There’s Lea’s son Ira’s best friend Ethan and her daughter Elena’s best friend Ruth-Ann who add nothing to the story. And multiple police/FBI who are named but I can’t remember any of them. I just could not keep track of everyone!
Now, let’s get into the plot. So, spoiler alert, the twins Samuel and Daniel were killed in the hurricane on the island in 1935. This pagan priest awoke them from being dead, but they had been dead too long, so they brought back an evil inside of them. They have power to hypnotize people, kill them, and…laser eyes…yep, Samuel has laser eyes (am I suddenly in X-Men?). The final plot twist comes when it is revealed Lea died on the island too and was brought back by the priest.
But let me just say I saw everything coming. We see Samuel and Daniel talking early on (Chapter 16, about 78 pages in) about wanting a family and being able to do anything to get it. And they do, including murdering anyone who gets in their way. So nothing after this point is a surprise to me.
Concerning Lea’s death, after she fell ‘unconscious’ because the roof fell in on her, I was suspicious of whether she was really alive because we just witnessed men being brought back to life in a occult ceremony just a few chapters before. But I was not certain unto a little over halfway into the book when Lea became obsessed with death, quitting her traveling blog to research death practices around the world. So when it was revealed she was dead, I was like…yeah…I knew this over a hundred pages ago.
I felt like this with every plot twist, save for the very last one. After Samuel turns his laser eyes on Lea, she bursts into flame, clutching the twins and burning them with her. However, in the final chapter, Mark’s nephew, toddler Axl, says, “Look what Sammy teached me.” And his eyes turn red and he burns some beetles in the garden with his laser sight…
Um, excuse me? Where did that come from? I will buy that Samuel and Daniel were possessed with evil when they were brought back to life, but Axl never died, so how did he get possessed with the same power? This twist at the end, the only twist I did not see coming, made no sense!
One of the reasons I had so many issues with this book was because it was all over the place. It was a thriller, but also a horror, but also a fantasy. There were so many subplots, so many characters, and yet in the end it felt as if not that much happened. There were only a handful of scenes that really progressed the plot.
Let me just say, I didn’t hate this book. It makes for an interesting read from the library, but I certainly would never want to own it. I feel as if every book review I post is negative. I swear, I love books, but maybe I am too much of a detailed reader.
Have you read any of R. L. Stine’s books? What are your general thoughts about him as well as this book? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,