ARC Review: The Drowned Forest by Kristopher Reisz

ARC Review: The Drowned Forest by Kristopher Reisz
The Drowning Forest
by Kristopher Reisz

Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Publication date: February 8th, 2014
by Flux

Format: eARC


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Holly and Jane have jumped off the bridge over their Alabama reservoir hundreds of times. But one day, Holly's jump goes wrong. Her body never comes up, but something else does—a sad creature of mud, full of confusion and sorrow. Jane knows it's Holly, somehow, trapped and mixed up with the river. But Holly doesn't know she’s dead, and that anything she touches will die, too . . . even those she loves the most.

Meanwhile, Jane's family doesn't believe what she knows about Holly. They are threatening to place Jane in a mental institution, and her pastor thinks she is crossing over into the Devil's playground. In spite of her community's doubts, Jane can tell it's Holly, and she has to put her to rest.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Are you religious? Do you think you’re better than everyone else because you have ‘faith’? Do you like preaching to other people? Do you like shoving your religious opinions down someone’s throat? Do you like forcing your religion on to other people?

If that sounds like you, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If those things get on your nerves like they get on mine. Run. Run for your lives.

This book is publicized all wrong. It’s misleading and someone really should mention the religious aspect because I know a lot of readers will feel the way I do. Pissed off.

What’s even worse is that this book had some real potential. It could have been great but it wasn’t. It had the basis of good relationships and no romance and a somewhat creepy aspect but it all went down the drain with a nightmare of a female lead.

If I didn’t know that Jane was the female lead, I seriously would think she was some sort of cult leader who would turn out to be an antagonist. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. She judges everyone around her using her religion as a basis, because the fact she goes to church, like a good little girl, makes her better than everyone else. I bet if it were up to her she’d convert everyone. She has no respect for other people’s opinions. When Tyler ‘rejects’ religion, she doesn’t believe him and in her mind goes on and on about the time he was saved. She also feels sad when she cannot feel God. No I am not kidding. Her inner monologue consists of how God loves everyone and that everyone can be saved. Now I don’t want to offend anyone who is religious, I wouldn’t  have minded the book so much had the religious aspect been moderated but as it is, I felt like I was was being preached at the whole time I was reading this book. I respect other people’s opinions and expect mine to be respected as well.

One of my biggest issues was that no adult gives them due credit, so like all the other teens out there, they solve the mystery on their own. YAY *sarcasm* What is up with adults never understanding? The parents aren’t necessarily portrayed as the bad guys; which is appreciated, but why don’t they ever listen to the kids?

The teens don’t show an ounce of normality. You have goody two shoes Jane, sunshine Holly (well she IS dead), shy but wonderful musician Tyler, rebel chick Leigh Ann who is sad she was thrown out of church for having blue hair. The characters actually listen to gospel music. Am I really supposed to believe that teens are USUALLY like this? I actually thought the author might go somewhere with this and give Jane a taste of her own medicine but no. Everyone ends up happy happy at church. YAY.

The relationships are surprisingly decent. You have a main character who truly mourns her friend instead of latching on to her boyfriend now that he is available. The boyfriend actually loved his girlfriend, they shared a good relationship and he mourned her. He was heartbroken. There is no romance in this book, it does have a good focus on relationships and sadly that happens to be the only positive thing.

The writing takes a little getting used to. Jane is always talking to her best friend, Holly in her mind. That’s basically her inner monologue… it’s definitely different and it doesn’t always work but I can see why the author wrote it the way he did. It was to emphasize the friendship between the two.

The ‘horror’ part of this book is a complete and utter mess. It is all over the place. There are no explanations. Jane had a dream that told her where to find Holly’s grandpa but there was nothing mentioned about the dream after that. For a while I even thought that the way Jane could feel God would lead up to something paranormal but it didn’t. Even when it leads her to ‘prophesize’ so many things. I am surpised by how literally the main character takes the bible, like how she immediately jumped to conclusions when a fish coughed up Holly’s ring and matched it up to some sort of prophesy. I am not sure she would survive in the real world. This isn’t some book that follows in the steps of Stephen King, in fact for the most part I wasn’t scared. The horror was a fail. We know things but nothing really happens. Those incidents aren’t connected in a way to give us a scary atmosphere.

One of the biggest things that pushed me from mild annoyance to full-fledged anger was the jab taken at other culture/religions. Saying something like this (quote below) won’t make me laugh. It may not cause direct offense to me but what is wrong with you?

“….Banned in all those Islamic countries ‘cause women kept ripping off their Burkas and going wild and shit.”

Do I care that the person who said it was probably an immature little shit? NO I DO NOT CARE. Saying things like that will not win you any points.

So in conclusion, if you don’t like someone shoving religion down your throat, avoid this book.


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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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    • Rashika says

      Personally, I try to be open minded and not mind religious stuff in a book but then there are books like these this one.. and you simply cannot help but rage.

      You’d be raging like me ^_^ and I wouldn’t feel alone :P

  1. says

    So sttttuuuuuuupid and hateable, Rashika! Church fixes ALL your problems. They cure homosexuality, feminist views, ghosty problems, devil’s own disease etc etc…

    You know, I’m an atheist, not anti-religious or anything but I HATE these kinda books where one visit to church fixed almost any problem, even punctures in car tire. Religion is goddamn religion, not pearls of protection. On the other hand, I absolutely love those religious fiction type books that don’t shove anything down our throats but gently explore all aspects of a particular religion- sorta like Madapple.

    The title and cover are so awes0ome, whodathunk?
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    • Rashika says

      Ghosts exist man. I am telling you! :P

      I am not an atheist or a believer, just hovering in the middle but I agree. I HATE HATE HATE it when that’s done. I DONT WANT SOMEONE ELSES OPINIONS SHOVED DOWN MY THROAT THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Seriously. I totally agree with you, I love exploring other religions but it should be done in such a way that you don’t suffocate your readers. SERIOUSLY.

      I KNOW RIGHT? The cover is so effing awesome. Pretty covers always lie. :'(

  2. says

    I admit, the blurb intrigued me but after reading your review I am staying, far, FAR away from this one. I am not religious, I guess I’m what you call agnostic. I respect people who are religious though, I respect their beliefs. In doing so, I except that my beliefs are to be respected as well. I do not care for a book that shovels their religion down my throat, or ridicules other beliefs just because it is different from their own. I haven’t even read the book and I’m already pissed off! I admire you for actually finishing this, I don’t think I can do it.
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    • Rashika says

      I am agnostic as well! :) Same here. I would never mind reading about someone else’s religious opinions so long as I feel like mine are being respected instead of, well, discarded.

      I admire myself too :/ I wanted to give up but.. my resolution is to be more tolerant instead of DNFing right away. Look where that got me :P

  3. FayeFaye says

    Gosh, this sounds like a wreck. Why would someone so religious (self-proclaimed anyway) and then make fun of other religions? DOUBLE FAIL.

    • Rashika says

      I despise being preached at. I respect other people’s opinions and don’t have problems with religion as well but.. I expect my opinions to be respected as well.

      I don’t know how I made it. As soon as I finished, I dove into another book and thats turning out to be a hot mess as well. This is obviously not my week :P

  4. says

    Although I’m not really religious at all, I prefer when people don’t annoyingly shove their religion in my face. Being preached at is definitely one of things that would most irritate me in a book. That’s why I couldn’t take Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally. So freaking annoying.
    Well, I’ve only read two reviews of this book so far but both have been very unfavourable ones. I’m definitely staying away from this book.
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    • Rashika says

      I heard that too about that book! I *still* have to read Catching Jordan though :P So I probably shouldn’t say much :P