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

A horror novel about a young girl and her parents - and a home invasion like no other.

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.

I read the synopsis of this book and knew I had to read it. A horror story about a home invasion? SIGN ME UP! Seeing this novel being compared to books by Stephen King just made me more excited to read it. Here are my thoughts:

The Cabin at the End of the World book cover

The Cabin at the End of the World

by Paul Tremblay

Published May 26, 2018 by William Morrow
ISBN: 0062679104

Data from Goodreads

Summary (Goodreads): 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.”

My Review

I really really really wanted to love this book. But that didn’t happen here.

The Pros: What worked for me

  • The way the novel was set up in the beginning really caught my attention. There was an eeriness to it that kept me wanting more and had my hopes up really high for the rest of the novel.
  • The amount of violence and the way it was written was fantastic; it creeped me out and also kept me interested in the story. I could see why this author had won accolades for his work in horror fiction here! .

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • There was a lot of detail given to parts of the story that didn’t necessarily need that much detail. Maybe it was to try and bring depth to the characters but all it did was make me feel disinterested. It made me want to skim parts of the story to get to the juicier bits.
  • I also thought that there was too much repetition in the story. (Click to reveal spoiler) There is a part in the book that is literally all about Wen’s parents saying “Go away”, and the intruders saying “Let us in.” Literally. That was an entire chapter. There was some action to it but the repetitiveness caused some of the tension to fade away, making the story dull. This is my main complaint about the entire book.
  • There was not enough of a backstory or explanation about how things led to this. And the author NEVER clarifies this. (Click to reveal spoiler) There is never a definitive period where the reader knows if the apocalypse scenario is real or fake. Now, this may have been the intention of the author but again, the execution of this wasn’t that great. There was just so much back-and-forth happening that I became frustrated. I almost put the book away because I just found it so annoying. But I pushed through … and still didn’t feel rewarded. The ending was just so … blah and weird. After all the tension (and lack of tension) and back-and-forth exchanges, I felt like I had read this book and gotten very little out of it.

While the premise of this book was very interesting, I did not love the actual execution of it. Other reviewers on Goodreads have talked about the audiobook version of this novel being a different (worse) experience as compared to the physical book so please do keep that in mind if you choose to read it. For me, this book gets a 1.5/5 stars.

7 thoughts on “Review: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

  1. Oh no! When I saw the title and synopsis I thought this would be good! It sounds like there’s a good idea in there but it hasn’t been expressed in the right way. I think I’ll give this one a miss!

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