Book Review: The Cabin by Natasha Preston

by - 9:38:00 PM

Title: The Cabin
Author: Natasha Preston
Pages: 331
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: 06 September 2016

From Goodreads: "When Mackenzie treks to a secluded cabin in the woods with six friends, she expects a fun weekend of partying, drinking, and hookups. But when they wake to find two of their own dead and covered in blood, it's clear there's a killer among them. As the police try to unravel the case, Mackenzie launches her own investigation. Before long secrets start to emerge, revealing a sinister web of sins among the original seven friends. The killer is still free. Every one of them is a suspect. And Mackenzie starts to realize that no one is innocent."

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review!

The premise of The Cabin really caught my interest because I am an absolute sucker for a good murder-in-a-secluded-house story, or really just stories about secluded houses in general. I thought the idea of seven late-teenagers (this is important for me, personally, to remember throughout the story) that are partying in a cabin and wake up to find two friends dead was a cool concept and I instantly wanted to know who-dun-it! If that didn't get me, then the prologue certainly did:

The think they're invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
 They think there are no consequences.
They've left me no choice.
It's time for them to pay for their sins.

I feel as though the first five chapters are where the book really shines. These chapters are the ones that introduce the reader to the characters and give you a small bit of insight into who they are and Mackenzie's relationship/feelings towards them. You get a little bit of drama, some romance, a little backstory on why the group has strained feelings regarding Josh; just enough of everything to get you settled in the world and know a basic amount of information about all of the characters. In these five chapters, the reader also gets a pretty gruesome double murder! While the rest of the book was good, I don't feel that it measures up to the first five chapters, unfortunately. But serious high five to Natasha Preston for writing an absolutely killer opening!

Once the group leaves the cabin and returns to their lives in town, (or village, I believe it was referred to as) it becomes a story about them coping with the deaths of two of their friends and Mackenzie's investigation into the murders...and Blake's pants. With Mackenzie being the narrator of the story, you get to dive into her head and really understand how the murders have affected her. Sort of, I guess. I found Mackenzie to be really frustrating at times, mostly when it came to her jumping to conclusions about who the killer was while simultaneously trying to jump down Blake's pants. I know, two references to his pants in the same paragraph? But really, that's a huge part of Mackenzie's thoughts throughout the book, so much so that they almost take priority over the who-dun-it thoughts! While I did try to remind myself that this was a YA book, it's also stated several times that Mackenzie is almost 18 years old, which made me think that she should have been a bit more mature. But, after hearing her story, I suppose I could understand why she acted the way she did. But still, keep your mind on the murders and out of the gutter, girl!

Out of all of the characters, I sadly wasn't able to connect with any of them. Mackenzie and Blake were what I would consider the main characters, with the other three being background characters. Those two were well written, although I really did not like Mackenzie at several parts of the book. Blake was the typical bad boy with a golden heart, but I did find myself laughing at how sassy he was. As for Mackenzie's friends, I really felt like they were written very well. Every encounter that they had with Mackenzie brought a bit more background information to the reader, and I felt like each of them was pretty unique. Of course, one was significantly crazier than the others, but that was hidden so well and I was certainly sitting there saying "Wait what really?" when the second twist was revealed.

On that note about the second twist, yes, there are two twists. While I didn't see either of them coming, I did feel that the buildup and reveal was a bit lackluster. It just kind of...happened...and when it did, I didn't feel shock or surprise or anything, it was more just, "Well okay then, I guess that makes sense." However, the second twist came after about eighteen months after the killer was revealed, and I really felt like it was forced and unnecessary. It did add a sort of "oh crap" feeling, so that was interesting to read and process. The ending, however, had me flipping pages to make sure that no, this wasn't a cliffhanger ending and there was more on the next page. Unfortunately, there was not more on the next page and it was a cliffhanger ending. I think that while I was left flipping pages and yelling "Wait that's it?!" that I'm still excited at the prospect of a sequel! I have no idea where it could go from here but I'm interested to find out.

The writing of the book was a good amount of descriptive without going overboard. Even though the setting was across the pond, I was able to get a really good idea of what Mackenzie's little village was like, and I absolutely loved it. The vibes of a small town were very well written, and I think it really added a creepy element to the story. Natasha Preston is an author that I would certainly go back and read more of her books just to experience her world building all over again. I love authors that can really draw you into the world of their story, and Natasha does a wonderful job at building up Mackenzie's world and then letting the reader loose in it.

If you're looking for a good old fashioned murder mystery, then be sure to check out The Cabin by Natasha Preston!

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