This book gave off a wonderfully creepy, southern-summer kind of vibe, and I just loved it. I particularly loved the strange, nonsensical metaphors scattered throughout the text. I feel they added to the southern feel and gave the book a sense of integrity that I really could connect to. Having a southern grandmother, I heard these kinds of things as a kid all the time (my favorite being "crookeder than a dog's hind leg").
On top of the southern feel of the town, there is a distinctly creepy (and oftentimes downright terrifying) feel from the characters and plot. This book is unbelievably dark and, at times, horribly depressing. None of the characters, including Violet herself, are completely free of corruption, making it very hard to distinguish between the "good" and "bad" guys.
Up until the big reveal of River's secret (about halfway through the story), I was totally hooked. I loved the suspense and the speculation, the plot was fast-paced and interesting. But the truth of River was, at least at first, very disappointing to me. I think in my mind I had certain expectations that were simply not met. That being said, the book quickly picks back up as more characters are introduced and the reader is forced to really think about the implications of what River is capable of. By the end of this book, I absolutely could not read fast enough. The ending had me literally on the edge of my seat, terrified, with no idea how in the world things were going to end.
With spring right around the corner and snow STILL being forecast here in Ohio for later in the week, this book had the perfect southern-summer feel to it that I needed in my life. It was so easy to imagine myself right beside the characters, drinking iced tea while napping in the sun on the front porch. The plot was fast-paced and interesting, with the exception of a few chapters near the middle, and the ending was scary as hell. I cannot wait for the second book to come out later this year, and I am pretty upset with myself I did not read this book sooner!
I would recommend this book to fans of creepy, suspenseful thrillers with a paranormal twist. Be warned this story does actually have a good bit of violence in it, so if that upsets you, this might not be the book for you.