Review: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Published: June 26, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 4/5

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined.

My Thoughts
Talk about a wild ride! The Cabin at the End of the World was the most anxiety-filled book I’ve read in some time. The story opens with Wen playing outside in the woods while her dads are inside just enjoying their plugged free vacation. Then a man comes up to her and carries a conversation for awhile then tells her what happens next isn’t her fault and that her dads must do what he says. Next, we see four people trying to get into the cabin saying that the world will end if they don’t sacrifice one of themselves…soon.

They claim as time goes by and they don’t do as they say things will happen worldwide and they have proof when alerts start coming on the news to back up their claims. Is it all a coincidence or are what they saying is true? The next questions are why Wen and her fathers targeted? What is their connection to all of this?  As time goes by the things that happen are gruesome and horrifying but for me, this isn’t what makes this story scary, it’s the fact that this could happen to anyone. For me, it’s the everyday circumstances that can happen to anyone that scares me the most. It’s the real things in life that I find the most horrifying and believable.

As the story moves along it just got sadder and scarier for me. As a reader, I kept flip-flopping as to do I believe these people since some of what they are saying is happening or are they just some crazy people who randomly picked this family to terrify. Paul Tremblay gives us a book with so many questions and lets us be the one to try and figure out what to believe. My one complaint was the ending while I understood where he was going with it I still wanted more. This is one book that days later is still with me and for me, that’s a sign of a great read.

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