I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 15, 2016
Source: the publisher
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.
I’ve seen some pretty meh reviews for this book. But honestly, I loved it! It reminded me of The Breakfast Club meets House on Haunted Hill. Depending on how you feel, that either sounds incredibly epic or incredibly horrible. But I can assure you it – at least in my opinion – was incredibly epic. This book is a complete mindf*ck. It was twisted, intriguing and kept me guessing, plus it had awesome characters and great writing.
Normally, I do an in-depth character discussion in my reviews. And, don’t get me wrong, I loved these characters! But it was also one of those situations where, I didn’t know what would happen to them. I didn’t know if they’d all survive. So I had this indifferent attachment to them. I cared as much as I dared to, but I kept my distance in case they didn’t all make it to the end in one piece. So I’ll just briefly discuss some of the characters.
Anouk was spunky and cold but in an.. intriguing way. I don’t think that’s the right word, but I can’t think of a better one. She embodied the whole “you do you” sentiment that Uncle Zac is always talking about. Jules was friendly, quiet and stand-offish, as was Will. Will was also a little bit socially awkward. Hayden was pretty much just a jerk who looked down on everyone, but he had a small handful of redeeming moments throughout the book. Lilly was bubbly and talkative and probably my second favorite character. She had her faults (who doesn’t?), but she also had some truly epic moments!
The thing I loved the most? The flashback scenes. They were incredibly intriguing and I loved the characters from these scenes, as well! I actually wish we’d gotten MORE flashback scenes. Here’s hoping we maybe get a prequel or prequel novella – SOMETHING!
This book kept me guessing like nobody’s business! I had all these theories and yet no theories at all and the theories I had kept changing every few minutes. The only part of this book that bugged me was the ending. Specifically the epilogue. It was a bit anticlimactic. I was hoping for a twisty, creepy ending. Something.. MORE than what we got… I can’t exactly articulate what that “more” is that I wanted to see. Just.. More!
Overall, this book was intriguing and intense. Though the ending was a bit of a letdown, the rest of the book was epic beyond words. It kept me guessing – and kept my heart in my throat – until the end. I HIGHLY recommend it for those who love psychological thrillers, as well as for those who love books with “it might be supernatural, it might not be supernatural” twists!