The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
And, sigh, an honest review is what they're going to get. I'm sad it's not going to be super positive. I sincerely adored Boone's Hatching trilogy. Seriously, I obsessed over it when it was coming out. I had to wait for book three for so long and read it the instant it came out. It had action. It had character development (even the red-shirts felt fleshed out before they got, well, red-shirted). It had plot. It had pace. It had fun.
Unfortunately, this one was a bust. It had so much potential - a horror story for a new age, a haunted house retelling in a world of crazy technology. And it did a lot of things well - for example, Nellie was pretty terrifying overall. The little glimpses of bad we saw really teased of things to come.
My gripe was this - the book was mostly boring. It took over half the book before they got to the Mansion. The real action didn't even start until like 80%. There was a lot of character development - Boone excels at this aspect - but the pacing was bad, and it needed more action and more actual buildup. There were hints of Nellie's bad, but they were just tiny hints, and they were similar ones over and over. And the supernatural twist didn't make much sense given the rest of the book, and lots of things were thrown in to make it seem like it would fit. For instance, there's one scene where Emily looks out the window and sees a woman in the distance. Nellie tells her it's not a woman. Emily looks again, and the woman is gone. We never are told the point of this - was there a woman and Nellie was lying? Was there no woman and Emily was seeing things? Did it even matter? Not really.
I enjoyed the characters and the rich development of the backstory. Unfortunately, that's all the book really ended up having done well. I know Ezekiel Boone is capable of much more, based off his prior trilogy. Here's hoping this was a fluke and the next one he puts out is back to his original quality. Let's be honest though, I'm still going to read whatever he puts out next. The Hatching trilogy made me a fan.
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