Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought.
But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .
A genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.
You cannot escape the palace.
You cannot guess its secrets.
MY RATING: 2 STARS
I was excited going into this, having seen the comparison to The Cabin In the Woods and expecting something just as trippy and unpredictable. In hindsight, I’m disappointed. File this one under “could have been.” Or maybe “almost there.” The elements were present, but the presentation was lacking.
Where should I start? The synopsis was a little misleading, for one thing. Bachmann’s style was rough and choppy, which kept me from sinking into the story. The threads of the plot only ever remained threads, tying themselves together at the last minute and never weaving into anything substantial. Anouk herself was a major hurdle, abrasive and unpalatable at the start and taking way too long in developing into a sympathetic character.
Those are the nitpicks. And the fact remains that this could have been a really awesome book. Lots of action and suspense, a few really tense moments, and I had to guess my way through the whole thing. The ending was a letdown, and I was left feeling frustrated that the concept never lived up to its potential. It could have been the intense fantasy thriller it promised to be, but by the last page I still hadn’t budged from my “meh” reaction.
Skip this if you want. You’re not missing much. Rad cover, though…