Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: Pines by Blake Crouch

Title: Pines (Wayward Pines #1) 
Author: Blake Crouch
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 305
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Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.

Pines is a book that I wasn't quite sure I wanted to actually read. After seeing the mini-series on Hulu last year, I was obsessed with the story! Still, I already kind of knew what happened, so would I really enjoy rehashing details? As it turns out, the answer is a resounding YES! I picked up Pines on a whim at the library and devoured it in a day. This book is incredible!!

The first book in the Wayward Pines trilogy tells the story of a secret agent named Ethan Burke and his strange experience in the small town he finds himself in after a car accident. Ethan has no idea what's going on, but slowly his memories start to come back to him. He tries to make sense of his situation while navigating the town of Wayward Pines, but the extremely creepy residents and authority figures make it difficult for him. I really liked Ethan a lot! I felt like he was a believable character and I could feel his emotions as my own as he panicked through each day in Wayward Pines. His despair as his predicament became more apparent was palpable.

One thing I enjoyed about Pines versus the show based on it was getting to know Ethan's wife, Theresa. I really felt like the book did a way better job of making her a sympathetic character by making her story more of a focal point. I won't spoil anything here, but there was a major change made to her situation in the show and I definitely enjoyed book Theresa better. That being said, I do wish that she had a little less time in the book because Ethan's story was much more exciting! I can see how explaining her situation will be important to the next two books though.

And then there is the absolutely incredible story! Sometimes in mysteries/thrillers like this one, the characters can come off as kind of stupid and I often find myself wanting to yell at them for not figuring things out when they're obvious! That was not the case here. Blake Crouch has done an incredible job of keeping the twists and turns truly shocking. Honestly, if I hadn't seen the show I would have been in awe. I was actually really shocked a couple times, even knowing what was going on! This story is just completely insane, but in an amazing way! I can definitely see why M. Night wanted to get in on the show. There were certainly some differences between the book and the show, but most of them were subtle. The one major difference is near the end where there is a majorly different setting, but I really liked it!

Pines is the kind of book that I can't really say much about without giving things away, so I'm sorry for being vague! The first book in this series roughly lines up with the first five episodes of Wayward Pines, so that means that there are many more details in the book and a lot more time to get into Ethan's head. Reading the book was in no way a waste of time after seeing the show first. Every bit of it was perfectly creepy! I highly recommend this book to fans of horror with absolutely insane twists (so basically fans of M. Night's early films). I cannot wait to get my hands on book two!