Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thaw by Rick Jasper

Published August 28, 2010.

A July storm caused a major power outage in Bridgewater. Now a research project at the Institute for Cryogenic Experimentation has been ruined, and the thawed-out bodies of twenty-seven federal inmates are missing.

At first, Dani Kraft doesn't think much of the news. But after her best friend Jake disappears, a mysterious visitor connects the dots for Dani. Jake has been taken in by an infamous cult leader. To get him back, Dani must enter a dangerous, alternate reality where a defrosted cult leader is beginning to act like some kind of god. (book back blurb)

Another excellent addition to Darby Creek's Night Fall series. If you're not familiar with it, Night Fall is a series of horror books written at a fourth grade level in order to help entice the more reluctant reader. So they're like GOOSEBUMPS but without the cheese and with more horror. This is probably what my demented self would have read at the GOOSEBUMPS age instead of GOOSEBUMPS if these were around.

Jasper doesn't waste any time pulling the reader in. The story starts and the bodies are already defrosted and Dani's missing Jake. Not just missing him, but is worried sick about him since it's been weeks since she's heard from him. When a strange man who looks like he may be rotting comes by with a video message from Jake, Dani springs into action, desperate to save him from the mad man that has him trapped in this weird alternate reality. Except when she gets there, everything she thought was going on gets turned upside down and Dani ends up having to fight even harder to get Jake out. At least she has some help.

The only dislike I had about THAW was that there wasn't more. I've read a few of these books and in every one of them the story's always been phenomenal. But because of the reading level, it doesn't delve too much into emotions or scenes or anything like that. I know I've said it in my other reviews but I'll say it again: I want more!

The image that Jasper gives with the people defrosting is truly gross. They're not just thawing out but they have freezer burn and the freezing didn't really go very well for them. Their lives weren't prolonged. They didn't thaw out and dance around all happy because they were free. Like truly damaged meat, they were spoiling and Jasper made sure you knew that. Love it!

Plus the world that Dani gets thrown into is some kind of sadistic dream. The scenery is something out of a nightmare, with reality playing at the edges. It was like she was dreaming and she knew she was dreaming and in order to escape she had to wake up. Except she was already awake and her only means of escape had disappeared. You really get a sense of being trapped and you don't know how it's going to end.

Dani's a great character. Really strong and determined. I wish there was more of her in the story. Yeah, it's in first person but like I said above, because of the reading level, it doesn't go very deep. I just wanted more. And of Jake. It would have been nice to have alternating viewpoints to see how he ended up going from point A to point B. Trey ended up being a good supporting character in an unexpected way. Well, I guess it might have been expected but he served a good purpose. He was probably the only part of the story where less was more. Had I seen more of him I probably wouldn't have liked it as much.

Overall a fantastic horror story that'll leave you craving more. Thankfully Night Fall has a few books in its series.

Ban Factor: High - Horror is high. In an alternate dream reality where a thawing cult leader is trying to take people away to a land where he's god? It'll have the Bible thumpers drumming like crazy.
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