Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon (review #127)

Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Fiction
Format: Review Copy

"Are you one of the chosen?"

I was pretty jazzed about reading this new novel by Jennifer McMahon. Though I didn't love her last book Dismantled, I did sense she was a strong writer and was curious about a new twisted tale by her. Don't Breathe a Word is such a mixture of genres. It is written as a strong novel but you get the twists and turns of a thriller with a splash of metaphysical, that almost lands it in the magical realism box. Overall, it was unlike anything I've ever read and it kept me pushing on to see what would happen.

In Dismantled I had a huge issue with the characters. Honestly, I didn't give two you-know-whats about them. In Don't Breathe a Word, I cared a bit more about what happened to these characters, mainly because it went back and forth in time and portrayed
them as vulnerable children.

Here is a brief description from the publisher's website:
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.

I read this in mid May right before I left for NYC so the fine details are a bit hazy but I know that I found it to be a page turner. The back and forth in time between the characters was not jarring to me. It brought the present and past together quite nicely. I was a little bothered with the magical aspect a bit because I didn't quite know what was reality or not. I'm not opposed to a little metaphysical action but if I'm not prepared for it, it throws me off a bit.

Rating: 4/6
I would recommend this to fans of Carol Goodman or Donna Tartt. McMahon has an edge to her writing and obviously has a love for a good ghost story. Spooky and a bit dark, this would be a better read for a dark October night, rather than a beach read. I've heard excellent things about her older novels, Island of Lost Girls and Promise Not to Tell. I'm intrigued with her writing enough to continue reading her. Her story lines are fresh and different and I like that.

Author Website:
Twitter @jennifermcmahon

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Misha said...

I really enjoyed the author's previous books even Dismantled; I am glad to know that Don't Breathe a Word is as creepy and intriguing.
Are you a fan of Carol Goodman and Donna Tartt too?? I love them both!

Ryan said...

I enjoyed this one. I loved the fact that you can read the edning two different ways. Depedning on the day, I sway back and forth.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked this one and also read Dismantled by her (not as good IMP). Hope to get her new book soon.

Marie Cloutier said...

Sounds very intriguing! Thanks for telling us about this one. It does sound like a good fit for Donna Tartt fans!

Komal Mansoor said...

Thanks for the review!:) I like your to-the-point reviewing style! First time, checking out your site, its so awesome!:)
Following u now!:)

Komz@The Review Girl

Lisa said...

I've read two of McMahon's books and found them both to be page turners (although I was not as fond of Dismantled). Sounds like this is another one to pick up for a quick, tense read.

Jenny Girl said...

I haven't read any of her work, and I like the plot of this one. I will definitely read it. Thanks for the review.