Friday, September 14, 2012

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 304 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC I received in a swap with a friend
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

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?


I've been waiting to read Ten for over a year--I'm pretty sure I found out about it just after I finished the author's first book Possess--and now that I've actually read it, I'm disappointed. Other readers have had problems with this book because they were familiar with Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which this book is a retelling of, and didn't feel Ten was a strong enough retelling. I have not read the original work, but I still have a lot of problems with this novel.

Ten has a grabbing plot and relentless pacing going for it. I read large portions and quick bursts, and putting the novel down to carry on with life didn't make me very happy. Fans of horror/suspense movies are doubtlessly going to enjoy this and all the campy thrills it offers. I wish I could say it has more going for it, but that's all I was able to enjoy.

Now then, as I said before, I've never read And Then There Were None, though I made myself familiar with it in preparation for reading this novel (and I did that by looking it up on Wikipedia, admittedly). One problem that struck me more than halfway through the novel is that ATTWN's Wikipedia summary gave me a better sense of characterization and depth in the novel than Ten was able to when read in its entirety. This novel's characters are very flat and when some of them start dying off, there's no reason to feel anything about it because we don't know anything about them. They're blank people being sent to the slaughterhouses for our entertainment, not actual characters.

Campy things are all fine with me, but I only like certain types and Ten wasn't that type of camp. It doesn't help horror  movies aren't my thing either, and this is like the novelization of a horror movie. The violence is fairly tame and the writing's immature feel at times fails to build the right atmosphere. Moments where readers would be told something about a character and then shown the exact same thing threw me off too. Extraneous words, they are. I don't like extraneous words.

Fans of Christie's novel will want to tread carefully with Ten, since just being familiar with it without ever reading it helped me see quite a few things coming.  I still want to read more from McNeil and hope to see the sequel for Possess be scheduled for release (meanwhile, McNeil's next novel 3:59 is pitched as a sci-fi/horror mix with a doppleganger twist; I'll read that), but her second novel was just a little worse than her first.

2.5 stars!

What am I reading next?: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater