I often ask for great horror and thriller recommendations on my social media pages. After Blake Crouch came up a few times, I decided to see what the fuss was about. Wayward Pines was everything I thought it would be, and nothing I thought it would be. I’m a notoriously slow reader, and I finished the series in two nights.
My reviews of the individual titles are below.
Wayward Pines is everything I expected, and nothing like what I expected. The cross of multiple genres- thriller, horror, sci-fi, dystopian- is so finely woven together that you never get genre whiplash. The narrative moves quickly- so quickly I read it over one evening and a short plane ride. And while this particular theory/idea has been tackled before, Crouch adds his own unique spins and twists so that Wayward Pines stands well on its own. Quick, thrilling, and well-spun. I immediately picked up the second book.
Fantastic second book in the trilogy. Not a moment of downtime from a racing heartbeat, and a sense of anxious anticipation. I had no idea how it was going to go, or end, possibly because of Crouch’s ability to keep the reader in the NOW. Getting ready to dig into the third book tonight. I haven’t been this riveted to the page in a long time.
The Last Town
Overall, I really enjoyed this series. Read all three books in three days, which is quick for me. I stayed up late into the night, all three nights. and immediately picked up a few more of Crouch’s books. As a series, I would score it a 4.5, but am giving this book 4, largely because it has the designation of the book that either resolves things, or doesn’t. Having read on Crouch’s website that he doesn’t plan to write a fourth book, I have to assume this is where the story ends.
Problem areas for me:
–> The story was too short for so much ground that needed to be covered. A lot of that page time felt wasted by unnecessary flashbacks (telling us things we already know), and a very long battle sequence that could have been cut in half– or the story elongated.
–> Dialogue, for some reason, leaned on the cheesy side, especially the conversations where the love triangle elements were involved. In another book I might not have noticed, but Crouch’s writing is so strong otherwise that some of the exchanges took me out of the story momentarily. I also couldn’t help but feeling a second love triangle was unnecessary, given all the other odds and threads, but it did at least serve the purpose of explaining how Ethan got there in the first place.
–> Some missed opportunities: Adam’s experiences, while teased at being the key to their survival as a race, ended up being a red herring. More emphasis should have been given to the fact, though, that a dude survived four years beyond the gate!
Like the other books, The Last Town was fast-paced and I imagine some will disagree, but I liked the ending. I actually didn’t guess that was Ethan’s intention until the moment was upon me, and, given this is the last book, this is probably the best choice for where to leave it. And kudos for the shortest epilogue I’ve ever read in a book. It’s technically a cliffhanger, though, given the implications nearing the final pages, it could also be seen as a great conclusion.
Overall Collection Rating: 5 Stars