10 August 2017

Review #635: Final Girls by Riley Sager

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again ... we are survivors. If you are here today... you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it thru hell and are still standing? We bare a different name: warriors.”

----Lori Goodwin

Riley Sager, a pen name for an American author, pens her debut horror-cum-thriller book, Final Girls that revolves around three female mass murders survivors, whom the media coined them as the Final Girls, yet the last final girl, never wanted to live her life as a final girl, instead she pretended to live a normal life in Manhattan with her handsome boyfriend, while she blogged about cakes, but soon her pretentious perfect life crumbles to ground, when the first final girl is found dead at her home, followed by the surfacing up of the second MIA survivor at her doorstep, making her wonder, even after so many years later, are they still safe?


Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Little did Quincy Carpenter, the sole-survivor of Pine Cottage massacre that occurred 10 years ago, knew that her flawless life, that she has successfully manged to set up with the help of her baking skills and from her donation funds, would come crashing down, upon hearing the news of another lone survivor of a sorority house massacre, named, Lisa's alleged suicide at her home, who was the first person who guided Quincy to become a Final Girls' club member, and who was very cheerful about life. Quincy didn't even got over the grief of Lisa's death, when the second final girl, another only survivor of Nightlight Inn massacre named, Sam, surfaces up on the door step of Quincy. Together a wild and careless Sam, who had been MIA for years, and a Xanax depended Quincy, hit the city of New York to rebel and to get over their trauma, and eventually, Quincy figures out the cracks in Sam's past story and about her whereabouts. Alongside their bad habits, that cost Quincy heavily, yet she tries to investigate Sam's past and that is when she stumbles upon some ugly truths about Sam and Lisa. Even though despite of her boyfriend's reluctance and her savior, detective Coop's, who stayed in touch even after so many years later, skepticism about Sam, Quincy lets Sam be a part of her life and soon disaster struck her yet again.

Sadly, the story line failed to stir or engage in that way like it was supposed and since I had high hopes on this book, it turned out to be a below-expectations-read for me. Moreover, horror thrillers must have that chill factor to terrify the hell out of readers, instead this one had a subtle lingering chill in its prose that fails to petrify the readers, mostly because of the fact that is is very, very slow-burning plot. And also it is overflowing with lots of unnecessary details that could have been easily avoided, it feels like it took a lot of time to unravel the mystery that the readers have been anticipating for so long, that they eventually loses interest from it. I won't say a bit that it is predictable, since the mystery is pretty good and tightly wrapped under layers of twists and turns near the end. Unfortunately so many factors simply did not tick with this "could-have-been-the-greatest-thriller" book.

The writing is okay, articulate, filled heavily with edgy suspense and dark emotions, that will let the readers easily contemplate with the story line. The narrative is slightly captivating enough to keep the readers hooked to the pages of the book, but then again, like I said earlier, there are certain other factors like too much details and the slow pace, simply mar the charm and steal away the arresting factor from this book. This story moves at a snail's pace, taking a hell lot of time to peel away its layers and show its true colors to its readers. And as a result of which, the story drags like anything.

Now let's talk about the thriller, twist and mystery, and especially with that shocking revelation and the ultimate piece of the puzzle, that has already manage to bore the readers for such a long time. Before that, let's talk about the story a bit. Quincy has lot of angst, but she perfectly hides it behind flours and the sweetness of cupcakes, blogging, photographing them, and not to mention, her ultimate survivor, Xanax with grape juice., and since she is the heroine of a thriller book, she needs to be psychologically flawed just for the sake of a thriller, and so she picks up fight with her perfect and caring boyfriend for no reason at all, and is involved into petty thefts, that no one around her is aware of it.

Sam Boyd enters her life, and as soon as he enters her life, Quincy opened up to her like a virgin and together they begin exploring their dark sides, and the reason to which is the recent death of the first final girl, Lisa, who apparently lived in the after glow of the sorority house massacre that she survived all by herself. And the moment things take an ugly turn in Quincy's life and learning certain facts about Lisa's alleged suicide, Quincy starts to doubt Sam and her past story. All the while the readers will get a glimpse into the night of Pine Cottage Massacre, that drags like anything. And then comes the conclusive twist, that literally threw me off my edges and not because of its intensity, but because of its meaninglessness. All the while the readers will expect that something good will happen in the end that will satisfy and justify the whole plot, instead one of the character appears about who the readers have no idea about all through out the story line, but in the end, he becomes a key to the plot.

The characters are also penned in a lousy manners, like they are faking it all through out the story line. Sadly, at times, the mystery made me intrigue, so as a result, it was a 3 star read for me.

Verdict: A thriller whose ending makes no sense at all.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Ebury Publishing for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Riley's first novel, FINAL GIRLS (called "The first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King), will be published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than twenty countries around the world.
Visit her here

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  1. What a great book. Layers upon layers of lies and deceit. I had no idea what was coming. I highly recommend this book. It will keep you in your toes.

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