Title: Go Hunt Me
Author: Kelly DeVos
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller, Horror
Published: June 14th, 2022 (Razorbill)
Synopsis: Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.
She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic short film that reimagines the story of Dracula, filmed on location at a remote castle in Romania.
But when they get there, it’s not quite the majestic setting they planned for. Menacing weapons line the walls, the twisted halls are easy to get lost in, and with no connection to the outside world, the group is unexpectedly off the grid. After just a few hours spent under its roof, Alex and her friends have no trouble imagining how this dark, terrifying castle inspired one of the most enduring horror novels of all time.
Only soon they no longer have to use their imaginations to understand the location’s terrifying history – just as they get the film’s first shot rolling, one of Alex’s friends disappears, and she’s nearly certain she saw a cloaked stranger lurking in the shadows. As more members of the group begin to meet an untimely demise, Alex is desperate to stop the bloodshed, even if it means facing a monster she never thought would be let loose.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Teen Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Alex and her friends, all horror movie fans, are shooting a short film that they hope will get some of them into film school. When they get the opportunity to shoot on site at a remote castle in Romania, they’re sure it will be the perfect setting for their story, a reimagining of Dracula. But when they arrive, things are not exactly what they expected. The dark and creepy castle certainly is the ideal backdrop for the movie, but as soon as they get there, their crowdfunded money goes missing and all the adults in the place take off, leaving them alone. Except, they aren’t alone at all. When the power is knocked out due to a storm, one after the other, members of the group start to disappear and turn up dead, and Alex is certain she has seen a stranger in a cloak lurking around at each spot. With no way to contact anyone, the friends are on their own and must figure out a way to escape before it’s too late.
This was a thrilling, fast-paced read! I don’t often pick up horror themed novels, but something about this one was just too intriguing to pass up. As it turned out, while this was certainly creepy enough, and it had its fair share of bloody and horror filled moments, I didn’t find it scary per se, and was more focused on the mystery aspect of it and finding out what and who was behind it all. The narration and location were both perfect for this type of story and the way the location is described was extremely atmospheric and set the stage very well, making it easy for the reader to imagine themselves in the spooky castle with an unknown enemy stalking around. I also liked the pieces at the end of the chapters with information from the police case and Alex being interviewed. The story hopped around the timeline a lot, but it was never confusing, and knowing how it ends made it all that much more exciting to figure out how it happened.
I wasn’t too impressed with the characters, mostly because the only perspective we get is Alex’s. Her friends were not distinct enough in my opinion and I got them mixed up more than once. They were barely developed, and it made it their deaths feel very distant and impactless. As for Alex herself, my biggest complaint for most of the book was that I could barely connect with her at all, but the ending makes it clear why the story was written that way, and it certainly makes so much more sense now!
My first question when I picked up this book was why seven teenagers would ever be allowed to travel – with only a relative stranger as chaperone at that – to a creepy, uninhabited castle basically out in the middle of nowhere, in a foreign country. It just wasn’t realistic. I think my biggest peeve with this book though, was that I didn’t feel drawn in emotionally at all. Usually, I would be freaking out at such plot twists and yelling at the characters to not do such stupid things, but that didn’t happen here. The lack of attachment created to the characters was very much to the detriment of the story in this aspect.
The final twist was excellent and despite the many hints, now that I look back on it, I definitely didn’t see it coming at all! I do wish however, that the ending had not been so quick. Everything was revealed in the span of a chapter and an epilogue at such speed that it took some of the thrill away. Overall, this was a fun read and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genre!
Go Hunt Me releases on June 14th, 2022.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!