Sunday, July 23, 2023

Review: Find Him Where You Left Him Dead by Kristen Simmons

This was a book I had to read as soon as I could. As I have been a fan of Kristen for many years now and would read anything new by her, despite being a few books behind, oops. And this new one looks awesome and sounded spooky. But oh. I have some mixed thoughts about this. In one word: disappointed. I expected more.

I'm not sure how to write down my feelings. I'm sadly giving it two stars. I had truly hoped to love it. Was expecting to love it. But did not. That is disappointing to me. This review of mine is not going to be very positive, but I also did not hate this book, which was a plus. Will do my best to share my honest thoughts about all of it.

But where to begin. I have so many thoughts yet not sure if I will be able to share them all, ha. The book was pretty short. And yet it took me a long time to read this. Beginning with the writing. I did not like it. At all. Which hurt my heart. It's a story told from several point of views, which I must admit to not actually liking. Oops. But my biggest issue with this was that I did not care for a single one of them. And the writing just made me care less, I guess. It all felt a little weird. I will say that I think this book would have been better if it had been set in an actual fantasy world. Probably just me. As I do not like contemporary stories at all. Well, most of the time. I have read a few books I loved. But most of the time I do not like reading about our world and school and all that. Ugh.

I think that is why I had issues with the writing. Was too much from our world that I just did not care about at all. I was more interested in the other world they would end up in. Was so excited about the scary parts and the boy they left behind. But I was disappointed by that. I was not scared one time. Not a single time. Which do hurt my heart as I was truly expecting to love this story. Sigh. It may just be me, though. Yeah. For me, it was not enough. The scary scenes were too tame and too boring. I just wish it had been more.

Okay. So. This book tells the story of five teenagers, seventeen years old. Four years earlier they played a game in a cave. One of them never came out. After that, they fell apart. They were best friends before. But not any longer. We get to see a little bit of their lives now. Madeline is a swimmer. Emerson dropped out of school and is playing games. Owen is in the school plays. Dax is alone and not doing so well. Ian was the one left behind, probably dead. They do not know. And told everyone else that they did not know.

I think this is one of the things that bothered me most. How they were supposed to be such great friends. Yet one of them went missing in a cave. They did not look for him. And then they were not friends at all anymore. Felt weird to me and made me not like any of them. Oops. Only one I did like was Dax. Maybe Owen too, sometimes. But yes. Dax was my favorite. And of course he was the one who had secrets and a terrible backstory. How rude. Yet pretty exciting as well, the one part of the book I truly enjoyed reading.

This story is about the four of them being told to come back to the cave to play before dawn. To try to get Ian back, or he will be gone forever and they will be too. It seemed creepy and exciting. Then it just was not. Sigh. I'm not going to say too much about this plot, as it was pretty short and it is best to read about it yourself. It is based on different Japanese stories, which I liked a whole lot. The history of everything felt well done, I just did not care too much about the story, sadly. Like the summary says: a little like Jumanji.

They end up in a different world, somewhat. They meet an old lady who tells them the rules of the game. Mostly. They need to complete seven challenges before dawn and survive to leave together. It will not be easy. I wish I had found it all to be more exciting. Sigh. Some of these challenges were a little creepy, like the skin guy. But it was also just too tame. I wanted more action and more pain and more hurt. I wanted to care for the characters. I did not. They were getting closer again, I guess. I did not see it. I did not care.

I'm not going to say much more, though I have so many more thoughts. Oops. Shared too much already. Anyway. I was not at all happy with the ending. My favorite character did not have a good one. How rude. But it also very much set up a second book. Which I have not seen anything about, so really hoping that will come. Because, yes. Even though I did not love this one, I still want to read a second book, haha. It felt like only half the story. But I will say that the history of the place they end up in was pretty interesting.

Find Him Where You Left Him Dead was an interesting book to read. Not scary to me. But was still pretty exciting at times and I wanted to know more about the history of everything. I just. Did not care. Which is why I did not like this book very much. But I am positive that others will love it. And I still think you should all give it a try. I was lucky enough to trade for a stunning ARC copy of this book. And I will still be getting my pre-ordered hardcover as well. As I so love this cover. And this author. So yes. Go pre-order this too.

Goodreads - Blackwells - Amazon US - Amazon UK

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