by Gretchen McNeil
Balzer and Brey
Purchased from the Nook Store
[#65 in my 75 book challenge]
Ten is the story of ten teens trapped on a island with a killer, slowly being murdered one-by-one. McNeil packages the story like a teen slasher flick in a YA horror novel: unlikable characters, one-dimensional characters, cut off communication, a crazy rainstorm, and a continuously growing body count.
If the plot sounds familiar, you’ve probably read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the classic novel the book is based on. I just read Christie’s novel earlier this year (check out my review). McNeil takes the Christie story and updates it with some modern twists. In the process, she also updates the plot in a few key places…which didn’t sit well with me. Christie’s ending is classic, but the ending to Ten fell flat for me. I could handle the obnoxious teen speak and the awful characters (I hated them all), but I seriously thought it would all be redeemed by the end.
I flew through this book, expecting something great. It was hard to concentrate on the story when I was already aware of how it was “supposed” to end, and what the possible red herrings would be. As I was reading, I thought McNeil was either brilliant (think Scream-like meta-slasher fun, poking fun at horror cliches) or that she was writing a very stereotypical, poorly written book. It all hinged on the ending, when her brilliance would be revealed. It wasn’t. The book is exactly what it appears as you read it. My expectations might have been a tad high, I guess.
FINAL GRADE: C Fans of Christie will be disappointed. I would imagine that anyone would hasn’t read And Then There Were None might actually find the story okay, which is why teens will probably love it. Ten would be a good addition to a middle or high school horror collection, and would probably see high circulation. Teachers and librarians could even use the story as a gateway read to Christie’s novel. I think it would be very interesting to see both novels read in a book club or classroom! Reading Ten got me in the spirit to read more Agatha Christie (I just started The ABC Murders), because nobody else can do it quite like she can! The bar has been set high.
What did you think of Ten? Have you read Christie’s And Then There Were None or any of her other books?