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Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone @atriabooks @atriamysterybus @ezekiel_boone #allthebookreviews

The Mansion 
by Ezekiel Boone

Thanks so much to Atria Books and NetGalley for these copies.  
After the Hatching trilogy we have been DYING to see what Boone had for us next - see what Jessica and I thought about this one below....

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publish Date: December 4, 2018
Kindle Edition
432 Pages
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction

After two years of living on cheap beer and little else in a bitterly cold tiny cabin outside an abandoned, crumbling mansion, young programmers Shawn Eagle and Billy Stafford have created something that could make them rich: a revolutionary computer they name Eagle Logic.

But the hard work and escalating tension have not been kind to their once solid friendship—Shawn’s girlfriend Emily has left him for Billy, and a third partner has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. While Billy walks away with Emily, Shawn takes Eagle Logic, which he uses to build a multi-billion-dollar company that eventually outshines Apple, Google, and Microsoft combined.

Years later, Billy is a failure, beset by poverty and addiction, and Shawn is the most famous man in the world. Unable to let the past be forgotten, Shawn decides to resurrect his and Billy’s biggest failure: a next-generation computer program named Nellie that can control a house’s every function. He decides to set it up in the abandoned mansion they worked near all those years ago. But something about Nellie isn’t right—and the reconstruction of the mansion is plagued by accidental deaths. Shawn is forced to bring Billy back, despite their longstanding mutual hatred, to discover and destroy the evil that lurks in the source code.

My Review:

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 thriller is where I would classify this one. 


Jessica's Review:

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.

4/5 stars

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