I have avoided reviewing this book for a reason… and not because it’s bad. Nope, it’s extremely well written. It’s compelling, captivating, and will make you lose sleep at night… but at the same time, the subject matter is disturbing, slightly horrifying, and might make you lose sleep at night for an entirely different reason. This book had such a profound effect on me that I simply didn’t want to revisit it in any way… even through a review.
First, the plot. We have a disturbed teen in a psych ward who spouts prophetic words, predicting natural disasters before they happen (or does she?). We have a young psychologist who is assigned to the teen’s case, and who slowly but surely begins to believe that the teen’s crazy ramblings are, indeed, predictions about upcoming events (for a more in-depth plot summary, I suggest you visit the Amazon.com page and read the synopsis there… I don’t want to give away too much, in case you’re the kind of person who prefers to just jump in without knowing piles of plot details, especially with this kind of book!).
I’ll admit it: I have a crippling fear of severe, uncontrollable weather phenomena… which made this a, well, rather poor choice of book to read. Heh. As the predictions begin to come true (not a spoiler, you know this is going to happen), we’re treated to detailed, sense-tingling descriptions of how the weather affects the places that it hits. Tornadoes, lightning, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, whatever… I don’t even recall which ones are in the book or not… but the author is so skilled that you’ll be able to close your eyes and feel like you’re truly there in the midst of it all.
Combine this with questions about the apocalypse, the book of Revelation and tribulation, and some incredibly flawed people (the characters are very well drawn), and you have a novel that not only entertains, but makes you think… and shudder… and ask questions… and if you’re someone like me, you put the book down, try to walk away, but it won’t let go. I was so shaken by the book that for the rest of the evening, I would randomly begin weeping, crying for no apparent reason other than the profound sense of darkness and foreboding that crept across my soul when I closed the last page.
My husband and I went for a walk to try and clear my head, but being outside simply made it worse. I felt like, at any moment, the whole world could collapse in on itself. I tried to describe it using words like “doom” and “pervading negativity”, but that doesn’t really do justice to what I felt. In the end, in order to chase away the disturbance from the novel, my husband sat me down on the couch and insisted that I play a fun, light-hearted video game, which was chased by chocolate and a comedy film.
I was much better after this. However, the experience of this book and how I felt afterward has been enough to keep me from discussing it further with others (beyond some initial impressions) or reviewing it here.
It was an excellent novel. I believe it’s already been optioned for a film, too. However, it was so vivid – and the questions posed, so real – that I want nothing further to do with it. It cut to the deepest root of my fears – uncontrollable weather, and the obscurity of what “End Times” really means – and it makes me wonder… is that a good thing? I’m not sure. Given the choice to go back in time, would I make the same choice and read it again? I really don’t know.
But like I said… it truly is an excellent novel. Whether or not it’s the kind of experience you want to take with you is another thing entirely.
Rating: …I’m going to skip the rating on this one… for the above reasons.
Tags: ARC, books, disturbing, End Times, reviews, weather