Except for that pitch, I wasn’t sure what I was going to find. And while I did imagine this book to be more thrilling, more mysterious, more based on the paranormal rather than science fiction, I still found myself reading through at a fast pace, unable to put it down or reluctant to stop reading. Which is definitely the sign of a job well done.
The characters were all well developed and were their own person, but a lot of the time we were told about their personalities and characters through the dialogue of other characters instead of being able to find it out ourselves. Alison was a character I felt sorry for. I wanted to hug her and simultaneously slap her and shake her and demand she open up and stop unintentionally sabotaging herself. For such an intelligent character, she was bloody stupid.
The explanation of what was wrong with her was realistic and I loved how it affected Alison and her problems because of it. Also, I very much enjoyed that most of the setting took place in a mental institution. For obvious reasons, there aren’t many books that can get away with what Anderson got away with and manage to portray something so serious in such an interesting way. In fact, for me, when Alison got away from Pine Hills was when the book started to go downhill for me. This book’s strengths were definitely Alison’s experiences within Pine Hill – her beautifully developed blossoming feelings for the researcher, Faraday, her desire to go home and yet her fear that she’ll be unwelcome, her relationship with other patients and staff. The conversations and thoughts and narrations were totally engrossing. As soon as Alison was out and so was the secrets, I began to lose interest.
For me, this book would have been better if it didn’t suddenly veer into a science fiction novel. If Alison’s problem had actually been her synesthesia and not what actually happened to be the case. On one hand, I liked the explanation for Tori’s disappearance and why she disappeared, but on the other hand, I didn’t. The writing style of the novel, however, was a definite plus and I enjoyed every sentence and description.
All in all I give 4 stars. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys the interactions between characters more than a thrilling, action filled plot.