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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Neverland" by Douglas Clegg (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Douglas Clegg's Official Website Here
Order Neverland from Amazon Here

Author Introduction: Douglas Clegg is a New York Times best seller and the winner of the Bram Stoker Award, The International Horror Guild Award, and the Shocker Award. He is known for his novels: Isis, The Priest of Blood, Afterlife and The Hour Before Dark.

Overview: Gull Island is where 10 year old, Beau's family has vacationed every summer for years. They stay in his grandmother's family house known as the Retreat, with his grandma, aunt, uncle and cousin Sumter. Sumter has always been a little different from the other children. He is sweet around adults but mean and nasty behind their backs. It seems that the only person who sees him for what he is, is his grandmother who has called him out on many of his evil actions.

Every summer it has been the same boring activities time after time, going to the beach and shopping with his sisters. The adults seem to fight and drink all summer leaving the children on their own.

There is something different about this summer's vacation. Sumter has found a way into an abandoned shack. This shack has been off limits for many years as the adults want nothing to do with it. There is something evil that is lurking around the island and the shack.

This shack becomes a hide away to a secret world for the children. Where games are played in the dark and secrets are bound by blood oaths. It is a way for the children to hide from the harsh reality of the Retreat, where parents fight constantly and when there's not fighting there's lots of drinking.

Sumter believes that he has found a sacred god known as Lucy and is slowly building up a following to this mysterious god. Many odd events have happened from bringing animals back to life and sacrifices being made. Is there really a Lucy that is a controlling god or is this just a make believe game gone to far?
When do the games that are played in Neverland become more then just games and cross over to reality?

Format: Neverland is a dark suspense, psychological thriller. It is re-released on April 13, 2010 by Vanguard Press in paperback form. It stands at 352 pages and has illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne.

Analysis: I thought I'd step out of my "comfort zone" so to speak and give a book that I probably never would have tried before a try. Neverland is an amazingly detailed psychological thriller/suspense novel that completely blew me away.

The element of writing that stands out in this book is the amount of characterization that is involved. Readers are introduced to Sumter and Beau who are probably the most detailed characters in the novel. The story is told via first person from Beau's point of view and Douglas Clegg captures the attitude of a 10 year old perfectly. There is a bit of blatant honesty that is present within the narration that makes this story amazing. The reader is really taken into the life and thoughts of Beau and what is happening. Without this amount of development the suspense in the novel would have fallen flat.

As for the character of Sumter there is just something portrayed about him that made him creepy but not overly creepy. It's like that odd kid in school that everyone was afraid of but couldn't explain why he acted the way he did. There were times that I was a little creeped out at Sumter's attitude, I was just that into the novel.

The pacing of the novel isn't slow so much as there is a build up to the suspense. There is a lot of time describing little events here and there that start to pile up. Don't expect all the action and suspense to happen at once. It's this amount of build up to the "big" events that really makes the novel stand out. It's worth it to see what happens in the ending.

Neverland can be read so many different ways. It's really a novel that every person who reads it will have a different experience or take away something different. There's enough family drama and mystery involved with the island that there's a little bit of something for everyone.

Neverland will definitely keep a reader on their toes. For my first experience with this type of novel I was amazed at not only the writing but the amount of character development that was involved. It will definitely be hard to top a novel such as this and I'm not sure if other novels will be as developed and well rounded as Neverland was.

Overall this was an amazing novel that really has many meanings and undertones with a bit of creepy suspense added in.


Rabid Fox said...

This is the second review I've read for this title, and it's a fair bit more complimentary. The other reviewers had a more tepid response to the "big reveal" at the end. I'm still quite interested in checking this title out in the future to see for myself.

Cindy said...

I really think in response to the ending it's all how you go about the book. For those expecting monsters and this terrible ending it won't work out. But if you go into this with the thought that it's a bit of a thriller in regards to family life with a bit of a demonology mixed in, it's a satisfying ending.

I can see where people who are more of a "horror" and thriller fan would not like it though!

I'd be interested to see what you get out of it!


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