Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Survive The Night by Danielle Vega

Survive The Night by Danielle Vega
Release Date - July 7, 2015
Publisher Website - Penguin Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 272 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
We're all gonna die down here. . . .

Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.

In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse . . .
. . . until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.

Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.
Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here. . . .” in this bone-chilling sophmore novel by the acclaimed author of The Merciless.
Danielle Vega's first novel, The Merciless, had one of the most chilling premises I've ever encountered. A group of teenage girls performing an exorcism that spirals horribly out of control.  I was excited to see what she would do with a 'locked' room type of horror story in her underground rave turned deadly set novel. She's created a dizzying, atmospheric setting that delivers the scares, but doesn't quite have the ending punch I was hoping for.

Psychological scares work on me so much more than any gore ever could. If you get me to imagine the worst case scenario and let that run wild it can send shivers down my spine. Danielle Vegas is a master of creating electric, taunt atmospheres and settings that are terrifying. She weaves the story in a way that allows you to experience the horror along with the characters. This is where her writing shines, and both of her novels boast fantastic pacing, and set up.

The first half of this book is incredibly promising and particularly strong in terms of writing. The characters feel authentic to a teen horror story, and the setting is inspired. The chills and thrills are plentiful with just enough wiggle room to keep the reader guessing. The latter half of the book however was not my favourite. The 'boogeyman' hunting them, when revealed, sets this into a specific category of horror genre. I am not going to spoil the reveal, but this required a little more explanation than we are given. I wanted to know the whys and hows behind everything. This particular 'hunter', to me, requires more backstory and answers than what we were given. It jarred me out of the psychological aspect of the story that was so compelling in the beginning and left me pulled outside of the story, never really bringing back into that same level of palpable fear. The minute the danger became a real and tangible is when the tone of the story changed, and the pay off just never quite came to fruition for me.

While this genre of horror may not be what I was expecting or my favourite, Danielle Vega's skill with weaving atmosphere and chills were more than enough to keep me turning the pages. A vivid voice in young adult horror novels, especially if you happen to like her genre of choice. I, for one, hope that Danielle Vega continues to branch out and try her hand at a variety of horror tropes as her voice lends itself to chills and thrills naturally.

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