Happy belated release!
Thanks to Atria Books for the free ebook copies in exchange for our honest reviews.
THE MANSION – Ezekiel Boone (out now!)
This is the same author of the Hatching series.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars
I absolutely love the author’s spider apocalypse trilogy and couldn’t wait to see what else he was going to throw at us and here it is! Something completely different from his other work and I enjoyed it immensely.
Billy’s drawn back to this mansion that him and his ex (and soon to be again) business partner and friend, Shawn, lived for a couple of winters, because he’s down on his luck and has royally fucked up his life on booze and drugs. His marriage is about to fall apart and his wife has no idea how far they really are in debt. Cue Shawn’s intervention to bring him back for a ton of money to fix the glitch in Nellie, this book’s version of Siri or Cortana, amplified.
Got that? Good. Now that I’ve basically regurgitated the synopsis to you – let’s talk about the insides. Personally, I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. Yes, there are moments where you get that Shining feeling because of a lot of similarities… a LOT.. but here’s the thing for me: The Shining dragged for me. While The Mansion did take a little bit to get somewhere and I kept waiting for Nellie to really shine through (see what I did there?), I was pretty much glued to the pages. I enjoyed the past and present views of the main characters. I didn’t care about the all too often used love triangle. I don’t know you guys, this one just kind of spoke to me. Was it creepy? No. Did it scare me? No. Would I ever live in a house that was (supposedly) that technologically advanced? I’ll say no but who really knows. I already got freaked about robot security at the airport so it’s hard to say.
This read a bit like a mix of The Girl Before meets The Shining. What Boone excels at his character development and you’re going to get more of that than the sci-fi/horror aspect. I wish I had a little more to go on with Nellie and even with the Twins but overall, I’m pretty satiated with this. Don’t expect it to be like The Hatching series – this is a complete 180 from that.
Sci-fi/technology suspense is where I would classify this one.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
From the author that brought us a spider apocalypse (still can’t believe I was able to read those) comes a book that people are comparing to The Shining but with a modern twist. I can definitely see the parallels between these two stories.
Billy has messed up his life due to drugs and alcohol – he is struggling and his wife has no idea how bad it truly is. In comes Shawn, Billy’s ex business partner. Shawn has an offer to go back into business together again and go back to a hotel they previously stayed at for a few winters. Why are they going back? There are some repairs that need to be done to Nellie (think Siri, Cortana, or Alexa).
There were some moments that felt a little slow on the pacing but I was fascinated and wanted to see how the author was going to incorporate the smart house concept. This is taking the haunted house idea and giving it a completely modern feel. I think that the smart houses are something I would personally avoid having – I don’t need everything controlled by my phone. It made me think to my poli-sci classes and how my professor would go on and on about how awful things would be and the likelihood of something going awry (hacking into the systems or the program doing what Nellie did).
I wouldn’t classify this as a straight up horror novel – more like a suspense novel. There are definitely sci-fi themes to this as well. If you’re expecting horror like The Shining then you might be disappointed, but there are strong vibes from the King novel and definite inspirations.
Overall, I really enjoyed the concept and how the author wove together the past and present for the characters. Of course there’s a love triangle that gets involved, but that doesn’t become the focus. If you enjoyed Boone’s Hatching trilogy, then you will love his new standalone.