Stunned is defined as: To stupefy, as with the emotional impact of an experience; astound.
I use a lot of different words when writing reviews. Stunned is not usually one of them. But after finishing Emily McKay’s “The Lair” it’s the only word I can think of to accurately sum up my feelings.
I. Was. Stunned.
If you remember (last December) when I reviewed McKay’s “The Farm” I pretty much lost my shit. (As eloquent as that sounds.) I was head over heels in love with that book, not only for its originality (which is still rampant in “The Lair”) but because of the character choices McKay chose to explore (mentally speaking) and the overall sadistic action that spread like wildfire through-out its plot. But the book ended with some fairly serious issues up in the air, and while I was anxious to read its sequel, I was also petrified I’d pummel it with lofty expectations that could never be met. So I waited, literally, until the very last moment I could get away with reading this book. And twenty pages in, I was overwhelmed with regret. Not because my suspicions had been confirmed (I am more often proven wrong than I am proven right) but because I should have had more faith in an author I KNOW has the ability to create a truly STUNNING, and jaw-dropping story.
“The Lair” picks up exactly where “The Farm” left off. Lives dramatically changed, people missing, others dead, and a hunt for safety on the top of a very long list of wants and needs. And much like it’s predecessor, it is written in multi-narration, so we can follow every aspect of the story. The only difference? The dramatic change in EVERY characters personality.
Lily, Mel, and Carter are decidedly different from book one, but not in a concerning way. Instead, their characters reflect growth (resulting from the events that previously took place.) “The Farm” circled around fear. Fear of their situation, fear of authority, fear of each-other. “The Lair” is also based around fear, but that fear has morphed into something much more complicated. Now there is fear of becoming a monster. Fear of abandonment. Fear of loss. Fear of inevitability. Escaping is no longer the objective, living is. But living is a difficult thing to accomplish when everyone around has an ulterior motive. (Or as us everyday folk like to refer to it…everyone is lying.)
The plot itself is centered around these lies, and catapults each character into their own interesting web of deception. And the deception is what ignites the action.
With just as much (if not more) action than “The Farm,” “The Lair” races through an abundance of twists and turns at break-neck speed. I personally found it hard to put down, and after just one day noticed I was only 20 pages from finishing this 420 page novel. And the last 20 pages? Let’s just say I was awash with so many emotions I had a hard time focusing my thoughts. Though it ended in a quazi-cliffhanger, it still offered a crumb of closure. Something I appreciate more than I am willing to admit.
In the end, I was impressed. The story was solid, the characters where believable, and the continuation of a what is a very original story continued to be just that…very original.
If you have yet to read “The Farm” I highly recommend it. If you have…don’t hesitate (like I did) to pick up “The Lair.” It’s not only worth the money, but it’s worth the time you will spend reading it.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: There is no I in team.