I wanted to like this book. I really, truly did. I wanted to fall into it and come out barely able to breathe. Alas, that is not the case.
In fairness to the book, I did not reread the jacket flap, nor did I reread the Goodreads description before plucking it off my shelf. After reading about 100 pages, and being utterly lost in my confusion, I got back up and read the jacket flap. Needless to say, I was still weaving through the maze, trying to find my way out. Everything felt so disconnected, disjointed, that I had a hard time enjoying it. Even after finishing it I am still quite confused.
When we're introduced to Annaliese, she has been missing for nearly a year and doesn't remember anything. Nothing about her life before she went missing and nothing about the year she was missing. She's recognized, tested, and confirmed as being Annaliese Rose Gordon. She has no recollection of ever being Annaliese and has no connection to "the mom" and "the dad", as she calls affectionately calls them.
Just as in the dark as Annaliese, we get to experience her flashbacks/memories of the past. Unfortunately, there were times I had to double check to make sure which I was reading - the present or the past. And the memories didn't always make sense. They would end in a weird place that just made me wonder what the point of it was. The transitions between present/past left me more confused than knowing. I typically don't mind the jumping back and forth - between past/present, characters, whatever the case - but this was so disjointed it was hard to follow.
I never really connected with Annaliese. Even when we get glimpses of the 'before' Annaliese, I'm not sure I would have liked her much. She was obsessive and slightly stalkerish, making deals for which she didn't question the outcome. As 'after' Annaliese, she's a bit more likeable, but I simply didn't feel that much for her. Then there's Logan, who wants to atone for his past sins and is convinced he is in love with Annaliese. It's kind of creepy, in a way, but I wonder if this had something to do with the deal that Annaliese made. Despite his transgressions and need for a morality check, he did have a couple redeeming qualities. Enter Dex, the not-so-American-boy-next-door. She, for some reason, is drawn to him. She trusts him almost immediately, and he her. He has a way of always smiling about things and keeping the air light, which as we find out, is probably harder for him than he lets on. And Eric. Eric is a douche. An asshat. He speaks in riddles and manipulates her every chance he gets. He knows everything yet says nothing revealing.
There were subplots that didn't, and still don't, seem relevant to me. There are things that happened that still don't make sense to me - the how/why of it all. And as a horror story, I wish that Quinn had been able to deliver a darker atmosphere. I didn't feel scared for the characters, or anxious, or much of anything, really.
I left this feeling a bit disappointed. The premise is great, but I feel the execution could have been so much better. This is a horror story, people, and I wanted to be scared, to be repulsed by the things happening. (Seriously, there's a part where I should have been going, "EEK! That's so gross! No! Don't do it! *shudder*", when in reality, I went, "Huh.")
All that being said, I can't say I definitely won't ever read another book by Quinn, but I don't see myself putting it at the top of my TBR list.