Review : The Uninvited by Liz Jensen
From the back of the book :
Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider’s fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh’s Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh’s Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.
My Thoughts :
I very rarely give 5 stars reviews. I can be quite generous with the 4 and 4 and a half stars, but the 5 ones are kept for those very special books that affect me on the long term, make me think, or shake me to my core. The Uninvited certainly deserves all of its stars, and maybe a little more! This is one of those times when I feel my words may fail me.
The first thing to know about The Uninvited is that the book is hard to classify. While it comfortably sits in the broader category of speculative fiction, it gets more difficult to pinpoint its exact place without spoiling anything. Is it horror? Dystopia? Thriller? Philosophical exploration? Maybe a little of everything. Which is part of the book’s appeal, for sure.
Hesketh was such an interesting narrator. I don’t personally know anyone with Asperger, so I can’t say how realistic was this aspect of him; all that I know is that from the start, his tone was different. He fixates on different details, and his emotional disconnect creates a different narrative than we usually see in novels. His interactions with other characters were in turn uncomfortable, entertaining or heartbreaking, and the way his mind worked through the mystery fascinated me.
His narration certainly added to the gloomy, scary, unsettling atmosphere of the story. Two mysteries unexplainably linked to each other in the scariest way. Revelations, twists and horrific scenes that kept me glued to the page. If you’re scared of children, this book will not help you get over your phobia! Children often play scary parts in horror novels and movies; twins, evil clones, haunting ghosts and the like have made numerous appearances in horror fiction over the years, but few have troubled me like Jensen’s little killers.
But the heart of this novel sadly can’t be discussed without spoiling the ending – something I would not want to do here, in this review (but in the comments, sure!) Let’s just say that it left me a bit shaken, terrified, and with a lot to think about.
I will not say anything more. If you are looking for a more revealing review of The Uninvited, take a look at some of the other reviews offered on Goodreads. But I firmly believe this novel is better enjoyed when going in knowing as little as possible. The Uninvited is so unique and original; it is not a novel every reader will enjoy, but it is certainly worth the read.
The Uninvited will be hitting the shelves this Januarry 8th! Make sure to get your copy then. Thanks to Bloomsbury for generously providing a digital copy of The Uninvited.