In a Dark, Dark Wood // by Ruth Ware


//published 2015//

This was one of those books that I have troubled deciding whether or not I liked it.  The story was thoroughly engrossing – I basically couldn’t put it down, and finished the entire book in one evening!  But in the end, I also found the tale to just be rather depressing.  While the ending was satisfying in the sense that all questions were answered – some of them weren’t answers I really liked.

Still, for just pure on-the-edge-of-my-seatness, this would be a hard one to beat.  Ware does an amazing job building up a genuinely unsettling atmosphere.  Placing her characters in a remote location with a full glass wall looking out into the dark woods, the constant reminder that people can see in but you can’t see out – cutting off cell service and thus isolating the players from the world – the snowy weather – even the fact that the main character doesn’t have a car – it all comes together to create a setting and feel that is rather unnerving.

Through the use of flash-forward scenes (or are the other chapters flashbacks?), Ware also gives us slow glimpses of the “bad thing” that is coming.  This slow drip-feed is really more frightening than just knowing it all at once, and is done very, very well.  I was reading as fast as I could turn the pages, and was thankful that we had no evening plans, as all I wanted to do was find out what happens.  

At the end of the day, I think I am going with 3/5, although I am very close to a 4/5.  I definitely would like to see what else Ware has written, but I don’t see myself ever returning to this story again.  There were a few rather big things about this story that really bothered me – not plotting-wise, but just personal-preference-wise, but they involve spoilers, so I’ll put them below the cut.

I’ve read multiple reviews of this book, all of which made me want to pick it up, so thanks to Cleopatra Loves Books (who does a much better job of actually summarizing the story, if you’re interested!); Reading, Writing, and Riesling; Bibliobeth and Chrissi Reads; and Fictionophile for leading me towards this terrifying read!

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