Mother of god.
I think I've just found one of the best horror novels I've ever read. (That's not saying much, considering the fact that I've only actually read one prior.)
If I could rate this as a horror novel, I would probably give it five stars. But on the scale of my favorite books, it's a little skewed to the bottom of the list because it's not one of those books that I actually would find comfort in. This isn't something that I want to reread over and over again, and it certainly isn't something that gives me joy. Maybe in a weird, sick way, but that's not the point.
It's, like, really, really, good, but not a favorite favorite. You get what I mean? I could probably only give a horror novel at most four stars. Which is probably what I gave 172 Hours on the Moon, a book that is also unconventional and fantastic.
Through reading this, I have discovered that I actually have developed an affinity for horror novels. The genre isn't something that I'd ever have any of my actual favorite books in, because, you know, I'd assume favorite books are something you'd actually have to like or enjoy. All this got me was a fellow classmate asking if I did cocaine.
The answer is no, by the way, but this book definitely had some LSD in there somewhere because I refuse to believe that words alone would leave me so shaken.
Look, I know I said The One by Kiera Cass fucked me up, but this really fucked me up. After I finished this damn thing, I looked at it incredulously for about ten minutes whilst all my classmates silently apprehended me for being a maniac.
Let me just say, chapter eleven gives a whole new meaning to, "Get in the chair!"
As I read more and more novels and start to refine my preferences for plot and development, I notice which plots have development I greatly appreciate and which plots have development that ticks me off. They'll spend too long in a mundane setting that's supposed to have emotional significance that it lost about two chapters ago. But this, is actually far more than satisfactory. The inciting incident is right at the beginning, and it kicks off into a book that is impossible to put down. (After about the fifth chapter. You have to wait a bit, but I believe that is necessary.)
I also fairly enjoyed how the story and all the concepts just got more and more disturbing as you kept reading. It made for a rather frightful morning in Algebra after I finished my midterms.
One thing I'd also like to mention is the artfulness of comparing a day job to a never-ending prison. It's even more terrifying when you stop to think about how this actually applies: there's market research and experiments that are actually used to figure out how companies can subconsciously make you buy something. Even before the ordeal of the actual plot happened, the idea of how this store worked and how the building itself calmed people into a complete stasis, is terrifying, and how it relates to what actually happens is just terrifying.
Nothing is scarier than the idea of toiling away, day after day. And that concept is exactly what gave this particular story its edge of terrifying. Because it could have easily just been your average ghost story, but this meaning, these ideas, the sick bastard that made it all happen, well, it's at least five levels up from unsettling.
In the end, it is a fantastic horror novel, and it is absolutely chilling in every little detail the author chooses. It's definitely not one of my favorite books, because I didn't, you know, like it, but it was a good time in ways I'm not entirely willing to disclose to you right now.
I need to go read a fluffy contemporary RIGHT NOW.
postscript) you know what a fun soundtrack for this is? that really freaky music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The one where it sounds like the choir is perpetually screaming.