Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Silent Land

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce
Publication Date: November 18, 2010
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 262
Keywords: afterlife, winter, mystery
Format Read: ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)

In the French Alps around Chamonix, Jake and Zoe are on an early morning ski run when a flash avalanche charges down the mountain and buries them alive. Miraculously, they dig their way out — only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. Their hotel is devoid of another living soul. Cell phones and land lines are cut off. The sudden evacuation has left Jake and Zoe to face a terrifying situation alone, with another catastrophic avalanche looming high above the hotel, threatening to bury them again. And as they explore their new reality, the couple begins to witness unsettling events neither one can ignore — and they are forced to confront a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit. 

I loved this. Every moment of it. It was very odd, but still extremely captivating. When Jake and Zoe unbury themselves from the snow, everything is silent. Their hotel and its town is abandoned, and they attempt to make contact with anyone that may still be near. But strange things happen early on that give them hints that the world may be changed. Candles don't burn down, they don't seem to taste or remember from their past. They don't feel cold or warm, and everything is unnaturally still. All the time.  And they couldn't figure out what kind of world they were in. But the best part? Neither could I.

Every moment I wanted to find out what was going to happen. But it wasn't an exciting sort of suspenseful. It was the eerie spooky kind, like the kind before something jumps out at you in a haunted house. It was so quiet and so still that I was holding my breath because I was scared of the answer. And some bits broke my heart.

Now, the story did have a few flaws. It wasn't extremely well-written, and there were parts that I thought could have been explained a little better. For instance, the first half drove me mad with all its descriptors. I mean, there are only so many ways you can say "silent" and "snow." Then, you're done. As far as the unexplained things go, I know that the point of it was to keep both the characters and the readers confused and not sure why things happened and things appeared (it's really REALLY hard to describe this cohesively without messing it up for people), but at the same time, once I finished it, I was still confused about a few things that took place about midway through. I was really upset with the situation with Sadie, Jake's dog. The dog appeared about midway through the novel, and then disappeared again, only to reappear later. I'm not sure what happened there, but I didn't get the connection, even after I finished.

This was just a fascinating story, and I loved the outcomes it posed of the new world they ended up in. Jake and Zoe had such a dynamic relationship. It wasn't perfect nor too rocky, but the right amount of love with some fear mixed in. I just loved the way they interacted with one another.
It's also a great read for the season, since winter is approaching soon. I love reading books that match the actual season. It makes them seem more festive and appropriate. :)

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