Final Girls by Riley Sager

The last five books I’ve read (excluding the poetry books, of course) have been enjoyable, yet not exactly what I would call fast paced, but Final Girls by Riley Sager is definitely a fast paced book as you would expect from a thriller. The synopsis of the book interested me and the fact that Stephen King blurbed the book helps a whole lot as well. Having said that, I don’t read Stephen King, because I’m a little scared of the genre he specialises in, but what I cannot deny is that he has a great reputation as a terrific author and of course I’ll trust a blurb coming from him!

Final Girls didn’t disappoint.  It was a fast paced and suspenseful thriller that will just keep you turning the pages. The story centres around a woman called Quincy who is a lone survivor of a massacre that happened when she was in college. A massacre at the hands of a psychotic patient who escaped the psych hospital near to the cabin in the woods they were visiting,  not far from the institution. What was meant to be a birthday celebration weekend turned into a blood curdling nightmare. All her friends were brutally murdered, stabbed with a knife, at Pine Cottage where they resided. Quincy escaped, saved by a cop that happened to search the woods at the time when she was running through the woods for help.

The aftermath of this is Quincy’s ordeal was splashed across newspapers and magazines. Because of the magnitude and outcome of the crime, she was labelled as a ‘final girl’, joining the other two final girls, Lisa and Samantha. Quincy were in contact with Lisa, but haven’t met her yet when the unexpected happens: Lisa died. This shocked her, after all Lisa was the one who told her to hold on, checking up on her, telling her she is a survivor, not a victim. But there are circumstances that comes to light that begs the question: Was it suicide or was Lisa murdered?

This is a story that explores the life of a survivor of attempted murder and how it impacts that person’s life. Quincy is by no means a very likeable character, but even though it’s ten years later, she is still struggling. Her relationship with her mother has not been the same since that night. She is addicted to Xanax, she has trust issues and she doesn’t have any female friends. She lives with her boyfriend and spends her time baking for her blog. The only friend she really has is the cop, Coop, who saved her life that night in the woods. Also, she doesn’t remember anything that happened the night her friends were murdered.

The other final girl, Sam, shows up after Lisa’s death. Wanting to connect with Quincy, wanting to check if she is okay, for the two of them to be friends and support each other. She wants to help Quincy remember what happened that night at Pine Cottage. It will help her process and finally deal with it. But are Samantha’s intentions pure?

And so the story moves on forward, with twists and turns that weren’t expected and some you would probably see coming. The book is filled with unreliable characters, however some of them have done what they did for a good cause (you’ll understand when you read the book). There are revelations that truly shocked Quincy, and perhaps the reader too, considering the assumptions that Quincy made about the people near to her, which turned out to be ill placed.

My experience with this novel is that I thought it was a thrilling and suspenseful read. I saw one or two of the twists coming, but I wasn’t disappointed that it was “predictable”. I think that the author wanted that to happen and led the story in that direction where you could harbour suspicion about the characters and be proven right. But there are also twists in the story that were shocking. Unexpected. I knew something was off about Sam, but I also suspected the worst from her (and I’m ashamed). It’s a quick read, I promise. I didn’t read it quickly in terms of days (between picking it up and finishing it), but I read it whenever I had the chance, which wasn’t often. However, when I did, I was up until 2 or 3am in the morning reading it and forcing myself to eventually go to bed or else I wouldn’t be able to wake up for work.

If you enjoy thrillers, I think you’ll like this a whole lot. Especially if you enjoyed Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. I’ll also note that as a thriller, I found this to be better than my experience with Into the Water.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Penguin Books SA for review consideration