By Elle Turpitt
It’s a perfectly normal day when James gets on the bus to school. But normality soon turns to tragedy, as the school bus crashes into a lake–an accident that sets a whole town into mourning, and James on a path to uncover the town’s mysterious past. In doing so, he meets Dan, a police officer searching for the truth. They piece together how the accident fits in with the other mysterious happenings that his father investigated years before.
The actual events of A Parallel Abyss are engaging, with some really creepy imagery brought to the forefront. The quarry and river become the main focus, haunted by entities determined to drag down the town’s living inhabitants.
While the plot was engaging, the technical aspects made this book difficult to get into for long. There was a lot of head-hopping. Meaning it wasn’t always clear who’s POV we were in. The plot rushes alone which for some of the novel, carried it well enough, but the fast pace meant the character development suffered. We’re thrust from one event to the other, with no real conclusion as to how they all tie in together. There were parts where the novel definitely picked up, but it felt like the threads were dropped so quick it made it hard to follow.
The ending in particular felt rushed. Sometimes, an unresolved ending really works in a novel’s favour, but that’s not the case here. The climax felt almost skipped over, with so much happening in just a few pages, and neither James nor Dan gaining closure on the previous events.
Although some of the horror elements were really strong, the pacing and characters let it down. It never really felt like we actually got to know the two main characters much, except for the very bare bones of what was needed to serve the plot, and both felt a little too passive in a lot of instances – neither were particularly engaging. I was intrigued by the town and it’s strange events, but it felt like we didn’t get to see enough of the elements that could have really strengthened the novel.
This one gets 3 stars from me. Too rushed, with a lack of focus, but a few great, eerie moments buried in there all the same.