Saturday, April 13, 2024

No Escape by Maren Stoffels

I was hoping to get to this one earlier, since it came out the beginning of this month, but time got the better of me. I have been really looking forward to this one, since it could be an amazing read for action and thriller fans. I've heard that the first one from this author in this direction was very good. 

Also, now that it's out, you can dive in right away too...looking at the bright side!

by Maren Stoffels
Young Adult Thriller
208 pages

Following the success of her unputdownable debut, Escape Room, Maren Stoffels is back with a new standalone horror novel about a twisted game master who has no intention of letting their players go.

You have been chosen to participate in a new Escape Room. You can bring one person. The one you trust the most. Your very best friend.” When Lexi receives an invitation to participate in a brand-new escape room, along with her best friend Tess, she’s thrilled. They could both use the distraction after a recent tragedy. But once inside, they learn that they must compete against one another.

What do you do when your best friend suddenly becomes your biggest adversary, and every choice you make puts her in danger? How far will you go to win?

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON    /     B&N


Some stories dig in their claws and don't let you go, and some leave off in a murky place between what is right and what is wrong. This read does both.

Lexi has been handling the suicide of a friend better than her cousin and best friend has, but the aftermath has left its marks even on her. When she's invited by a strange woman in red to join in on a new Escape Room with her best friend as her partner, Lexi figures it's worth a go. The woman claimed it was an experience like no other, and Lexi soon realizes the dark truth behind the woman's words. But by then, it's too late. The game has already begun.

This is the second novel from this author on this theme, and while it might carry a tie or two to that one, it is a novel all of its own. The tale switches between various perspectives, allowing the reader to sink into three of the four players' heads. There's also an excerpt, every now and then, which comes from notes of a psychiatrist, who is handling one or two of the players in the aftermath. This switching around is no problem to follow and hits the needed views at the right times to give impact and depth. And there is depth.

Each of the characters comes with their own angles...and not only the four players. The wide array of difficulties they've faced and decisions they've made create an understanding for each one. No one is simply crazy but carries complexities. Still, this depth never bogs down or slows down the pace of the story as it heads from one dangerous situation to the next. The tension remains high the entire way through. The clues are very well laid, the situations unexpected, and the danger deadly. Underneath all of this is a driving goal, whose intentions leave food for thought.

This is a quick, grabbing read which had me unable to put it down until the last page. Even those who don't want to dive into a longer, deeper novel will enjoy this one. The moments are thrilling, the twists unexpected, and the ending whispers the haunting promise of more to come. 

And here she is...

Maren Stoffels published her first book at age seventeen. She likes stories that are based on real experiences. Reading her books make you feel like it could all happen to you. And maybe it will. . . .

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