Title: The Cabin by Natasha Preston
Published: September 6, 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Mystery/ Thriller
Rating: 3.5 stars
Note-worthy: Fast paced, murder mystery, Gossip Girl vibes
Content warnings: heavy alcohol use, drugging, murder, stalking, drug use, graphic depictions of violence
A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can’t wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead―murdered.
With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn’t telling the truth. And Mackenzie’s first mistake? Assuming the killing is over…
I loved The Cellar when I read it a few (3?) years ago, so much so that it was the first full-length novel I’ve ever finished in less than 24 hours. I expected a quick, fun read from The Cabin and somewhat received what I asked for. It was definitely a quick read, but I very bored in the middle. The character development did nothing for me and I came out pretty disappointed.
What I would love for Natasha Preston is to write with more depth and complexity. Her writing skills are there, and I can’t wait to read her newer novels to see the improvements she’s making. I’ve been following her since the Wattpad days and it’s been great to see her writing develop and mature. I was expecting a bit more from The Cabin, but it was still her trademark fast paced, gripping thriller.
The plot is what really stood out to me. A murder mystery at a cabin, where one of the members of a friend group is 100% responsible, and our main character is surrounded by a murderer but has no idea??? Like, come on. Props to Natasha Preston for that. However, I was hoping for a different execution. If there were more scenes in the secluded and mysterious cabin and the MC’s whole character wasn’t devoted to being passionately naive, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
The entire middle section of the book is 90% the inner dialogue of the MC where she adimently denies that one of her friends is the killer (despite ALL of the evidence proving the contrary) and 10% mysterious happenings. I was just incredibly bored. This is a very bingeable book but the constant circling with little plot progression made me not want to read it.
I would have liked to have seen more twists in the middle of the book, rather than all of the great twists happening in the last 80 pages. The last few twists really caught me by surprise, and definitely redeemed the book for me, but I found myself wanting more from the plot, characters, and book as a whole.
I don’t even know what to say about the ending. It was stunning and a great end, but upon reflection I feel unsatisfied with the way things ended. A great twist, for sure, but when mysteries don’t have a definite ending I get trust issues lol.
I’ve been waiting to rant about the main character since I started the book you have nooo idea. Right from the get-go I disliked her. The way she thought about and interacted with her friends really bothered me. Yeah, my besties and I have beef, but the attitude in which she addressed her supposed best friend was more frenemy than anything. Of course her attitude changes after the events in the book, but the initial introduction into their friendship really rubbed me the wrong way. The MC’s only character traits were being naive and loyal. She had very little depth and complexity, which made me not care in the slightest. Overall not a fan of her.
The love interest was probably my favorite character. We love a tragic backstory and mysterious presence. His growth was satisfying to watch, as he goes from a cold, abrasive hot guy to an understanding and slightly warmer hot guy. He emotionally matured through the course of this book, which was great to see. Blake was the only character I truly rooted for, and I was surprised and satisfied with his arc.
The rest of the characters are hardly noteworthy. They were mostly superficial and, like the main character, I found any type of attempt at complexity to be forced and out of place with the former narrative (which I understand was the point in some cases). I wasn’t here to fall in love with the characters so I honestly didn’t mind that they were two dimensional.
Writing and Pacing
What I love about Natasha Preston’s writing is how easy it is to just dive in. I can get lost in her stories, which is one of the main reasons I pick them up. I wanted something faster and more exciting, but this slow burn thriller was still entertaining. The pacing was slow at times, with very linear progression. It worked for the story, and I feel like the end goal was achieved.
The ending had so much going on that it felt a bit rushed, and as I’ve said I wasn’t entirely satisfied by the way things were left in the story. But the shock value of several revelations was there. If I had cared for the characters more I feel like I would’ve been even more disappointed in the ending, but because my enjoyment of the story relied heavily on the Who Dunnit plot, I was okay with the resolutions.
This isn’t my favorite Natasha Preston book but that won’t deter me from reading her other stories. I’m usually attracted to character-driven stories and was disappointed in that aspect, but my preoccupation with the plot is what saved this book for me in the end.
I wanted more from The Cabin, but I was ultimately satisfied with the twists and ending of the novel. I would recommend to someone looking for a fast paced thriller to read.
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