Review of ‘From the Woods’ by Charlotte Greene
This was an okay wlw action thriller book. It was entertaining and kept me reading but I never really felt immersed or connected with the story. The funny thing is I feel like I read a different book than everyone else. Not in what I thought of the book, but what the book was actually about. Everyone is using the horror tag and even the paranormal tag and I’m left scratching my head. And when I say everyone I don’t just mean my friends and other reviewers, but even the publisher put those tags on. I just don’t get it because to me this is classic action/thriller. I didn’t really get the horror vibe from this and I saw nothing paranormal at all. Everything that happened could be explained so why is it paranormal? This book reminded me a bit of Gerri Hill’s ‘The Target’, Cari Hunter’s ‘Desolation Point’ (I’m listening to the audio and am not finished yet so my opinion on the similarities could change), and it reminded me of Ice Tea’s 90s movie ‘Surviving The Game’. They are all classic action/thrillers to me and this book had that same feel. I think the most horror-ish thing about this book was the title. And actually the two horror/paranormal books Greene has written, ‘Gnarled Hollow‘ and ‘Legacy‘, both I absolutely loved. So I’m going to stay in my own little world, by myself, and keep thinking that this was not horror/paranormal and then I can still say that I love all of Greene’s horror books.
I guess I should get to the review now after that rant. I’m late to this review so I have read many others and I agree with a lot of both the likes and dislikes that other reviewers mentioned. I personally have trouble with books where lots of stupid choices are made. They are going in the woods, on a special hike for two weeks with no civilization around, and their guide tells them no phones, GPS, watches, or anything. It was so ridiculous I had trouble getting over it. I can understand the phones since they would not work out there anyway (except you would think they would want to take pictures) but the rest was just too unrealistic. Even hikers going on just a day hike use things like emergency beacons. But in this book no GPS, no sat-phone, and no beacon, nothing for a professional guide to have. Someone could get bit by a snake, break their leg, have a heart attack, anything could happen and often does while hiking. I understand making the characters helpless for the story but do they have to make such dumb and unrealistic choices? Why not have the beacon’s batteries die. Have the sat-phone drop in the river and stop working, something like that would have such a better feel than dumb character choices. And of course shortly after this happened, the characters make a decision that is ten times worse than not bringing safety equipment. It was really hard for me to get past these awful choices.
Stupid choices make me think badly of the characters and it affects how I feel about them. Many reviewers have mentioned this already but one of the characters is horrible. Her mood swings make the story feel almost jittery, I wish I could better explain it, it’s just not pleasant to read her parts. I grew to like the two main characters but even that was a little difficult since one was a doormat for half the book. There is a slight romance and it’s very sweet, but this book should be read because you want to read a thriller, not a romance.
I think the last issue I had was the unanswered questions. The who, how, and why were the big three I was disappointed to not get an answer to. It’s funny but at the 95% mark I had this epiphany and thought I figured out this big twist and I was really excited. No, I actually was way wrong and unfortunately, while the main story is resolved, important things are just left hanging. As I said they all had probably explanations so again the paranormal factors escape me but again not having answers is giving me this confusion.
This was not the horror book I thought I was getting but it was an okay action/thriller read. While sapphic horror is making a tiny rebirth, it is still way too few and far between in books. Greene did so well with Gnarled Hollow and Legacy that I truly hope she will keep writing in the horror/paranormal genre. This was just a bump, and actually, I’m going to be weird and not even count it as horror anyway so I can still say she is 2/2.
A copy was given to me for an honest review.