Monday, October 17, 2016

One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards
Release Date - October 4, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Sourcebooks
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.

Suddenly it's clear; they're being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion… 
One Was Lost is what you would get if The Breakfast Club were to be mixed with a horror movie. A group of teens who could not be more different end up being stalked on the woods. The premise immediately caught my attention and while this is book has a strong setting and atmosphere, I found myself not connecting with the characters and therefore the story.

The setting of this novel is well crafted. The claustrophobic feeling of the woods enclosing you is easily felt by the reader, along with the isolation. It is easy to see how terrifying and unsettling this would be and it ensured that I was in no hurry to go camping in the woods. There is something about being so secluded that can be peaceful and unsettling at the same time and this is captured with these pages. It is the strongest element of the story and it really helped create the perfect atmosphere for the plot of this story.

The characters, particularly the ones who get branded, are engaging enough to hold our interest and sympathy for the duration of the novel. We're given enough to ensure that these are not one dimensional characters. The author gives them each a bit of backstory, and they each have their own issues. Outside of the main group, the other characters are more of a footnote in the story due to the limited time we get to spend with them. One of the stronger elements of the characterization is that each of them is a plausible suspect for what is going on. That creates a stronger mystery which does unravel with a few interesting twists and turns to the story.

There is a good build up and tension that is steady throughout the novel. The pacing is fairly even until the end of the novel. Some of that tension is lost towards the ending, at least for me. This is where the story did not work for me. The latter half of the novel, and the motivation of the person responsible for the terrifying events felt uneven and rushed. We don't get much insight into who they are, and while we are given a why to wrap a bow around the story, it feels unfinished in some way. It felt like there should be more expansion on the events to really take the story to the next level. All of the characters did not feel as developed as I would have liked, and I wish the author had made this book a little longer in order to do so. The first half is great at creating the atmosphere that you want the ending to pack an ending that is equally satisfying and it just didn't quite come together for me in this case.

A read for those who prefer their chills and thrills without a paranormal twist. This is a book that will pair nicely with the autumn season and holds a lot of atmosphere. While I didn't love everything within these pages I do think it's a fun read that I predict many will enjoy.

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