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Friday, March 22, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: Inspection by Josh Malerman @jessmapreviews

by Josh Malerman

Publisher: Del Rey
Publish Date: March 19, 2019
Kindle Edition
400 Pages
Genre: Horror

J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.

J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know.

But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.

My Review:

Phew. How do I begin.... this is my third Malerman.  I started with Bird Box which I loved... until the ending where I had some issues but a solid read and was then enthralled with his writing.  Black Mad Wheel was my next and woah, this was quite the read but I again had issues with the ending.  Then here comes Inspection and I could NOT help but request this because I'm utterly fascinated by Malerman's mind.  Like dumbfounded and I can't quite get enough. This one had a bit of the opposite effect for me - I quite liked the ending but it was the rest of it that didn't quite hit the mark for me.

It took me 8 days to read this and if you know me, that is a long time to read a book for me.  I kept putting it down but something kept making me pick it back up.  Each Part got more and more interesting and like with all of his work, I just needed to know where the hell he was taking me.  You definitely cannot expect to figure his books out and quite frankly that is what I adore about him as a writer.  I just wish I could get fully satisfied with any of the reads.  Now, maybe it's a good thing that I'm always a bit baffled and left confused and scratching my head like a monkey.  

The concept of this is extremely cool.  Two towers, two sets of children, named by the letters of the alphabet and set in quite the interesting world where there's a bit of a regiment.  But like with any experiment, something is bound to go wrong.. I mean, this is where we learn from our mistakes right? 

I don't know you guys.  I can't quite put my finger on it.  I don't quite put this in the horror category but there is that underlying sinister tone I felt throughout the read - it just never flourished into a big ... anything... for me to really feel its bite.

Regardless, I'll still pick up anything by Malerman.  Why? Because as aforementioned, his mind INTRIGUES ME GREATLY.  I give all the props to him for his uniqueness as all of his books are distinctively different from each other... so I have high hopes the next one will take a chunk out of my horror heart.


Jessica's Review:

I'll start by saying that there is no doubt Malerman knows how to weave an incredibly unique story with plenty of creepy elements in it. Something that is always refreshing for avid readers of the horror and thriller genres. INSPECTION is definitely a slower burn read, so that is something I think is good to know when you pick this up.
J is a student at an isolated and prestigious school for boys. He's only ever known men and their headmaster they see as their father (appropriately known as D.A.D). On the other end of this forest is a similar school for girls. K is a student that is been having the same questions as J - is there more outside this school? Why aren't they allowed to leave?

After seeing some reviews and talking to other readers about this one there is more and more that I'm noticing that may not have felt so prominent when I was reading. The concept of the book, as I stated, is very unique and you have give credit to Malerman for always coming up with something new and inventive. I think this was more so the execution that didn't quite work for me. I think the pacing kind of threw off the sinister vibe I was hoping for, I mean, schools stranded in the middle of the woods? Sounds like it could be incredibly scary and isolated. I will say, that I loved the ending. I wasn't expecting it and I think he did a great job tying everything together (without it being too perfect).

If you're a fan of suspense novels and a little apprehensive about diving into horror, then this is a good one to start with. I will continue to pick up Malerman's other books and I look forward to seeing what others thought!

3 stars

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