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Short Description for Ten In this horror novel loosely inspired by Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," 10 teens head to a house party at a remote island mansion off the Washington coast . . . only for them to be picked off one by one by a killer.
- Published: 18 September 2012
- Format: Hardback 294 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780062118783 ISBN 10: 0062118781
- Sales rank: 49,617
Reviews for Ten
Review from Esther's Ever After
I looooove a good spooky story. Action-packed, semi-predictable-yet-still-surprising thrillers? TOTALLY my thing. I would positively LOVE to see more books just like this filling up the YA genre, and Ten was an excellent addition to that!
This is one book I've recommended to a NUMBER of friends (there's actually a LINE UP of people waiting to borrow my copy). Pick this one up if you're looking for spine-tingling chills and a plot that will keep you guessing.
Reasons to Read:
1. Solid writing for creepy scenes:
Gretchen McNeil's writing totally sets up the creepy atmosphere for the whole book; it's solid and the feeling it gives off is just perfect for the reader. Like, all I want to do with this book is curl up with it and a blanket and tea on a dark and stormy night = PERFECTION. Scary books rely so much on strong writing, and I was so pleased that Gretchen absolutely nailed this part.
2. Predictable - yet still thrilling:
Here's the thing: Ten is a retelling of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. So anyone familiar with that story won't be completely surprised by Ten's plot. And it isn't the most surprising, mysterious book I've ever read - but that doesn't take away from its enjoyment and it still isn't entirely predictable or formulaic either. It seemed like every time I felt I had finally figured it out, I was wrong about something.
3. Character dynamics:
One of the best aspects of And Then There Were None is how it highlights the relationships between different characters, and Ten does a fantastic job including this in the story. It's a driving factor between the plot, trying to figure out how this group of (mostly) strangers are all connected to one another - and then watching how they interact with each other. It's a great look into the dynamics of relationships and how people interact with others.
Yet there were a couple of relationships that felt a tad too weak for me - Meg and Minnie were interesting and their story wrapped up well for the most part, but I had a harder time buying into it at first.
But mostly, I wasn't impressed with how emotionless Meg felt at times. Especially at the end, when she figures out exactly what has been going on this whole time, she feels somewhat cold and callous towards all the deaths which have taken place. I know that it isn't particularly crucial to a book like this one, but it still felt a little too distant for me, personally. Honestly, except for this one thing I think this book would have been 5 stars. It just rubbed me the wrong way when I finished reading it.
Overall, Ten was en extraordinary new YA read - it was perfect for the mood I was in when I wanted a scary read, and this one definitely kept me on my toes and glancing over my shoulder!
ARC won in Pitch Dark Books giveaway. by Brenna Staats
Followed a String of Horror Cliches
Just in time for Halloween, I picked up Ten hoping to be on the edge of my seat as I jumped into a murder-mystery thriller, where a killer lurked in the shadows! And while there was definitely a killer lurking, I felt very little suspense as Ten's plot seemed to follow a string of horror movie cliches that I quickly became exasperated with.
One thing I loved about Ten was the initial setup, the setting. An island, cut off from the rest of civilization. A house on a cliff, separated from the rest of the island by a rickety bridge. A group of teens who don't seem to know each other, but who are all connected by one person - Jessica - who is noticeably absent from her own party. A raging storm. Power outages. Cut phone lines. It was creepy and fantastic, if a little cliched.
Upon entering the house, I struggled to differentiate the cast of characters, as they're introduced in a flurry of activity. Luckily, Ten casted each character into a traditional horror-film role to make my ability to distinguish each person easier - there was the ******* (Nathan), the jock (Kenny), the prude (Vivian), the **** (Minnie), the ****'s object of affection (Ben), the token black guy (TJ), the almost forgettable best friend (Gunner), the girl who dies before we get to type-cast her (Lori), and the voice of reason that no one listens to (Kumiko). And then there's the female lead, Meg, who stands out in no way, except you somehow know that she's going to survive because she doesn't have a stereotypical role to fill.
Once you get past Ten's characters, which I had hoped were cast in such traditional horror-film roles as some kind of obvious joke for my - the readers - benefit before throwing me for a complete loop by not using those roles to define the characters, you realize the plot is also following a string of horror movie cliches. As people are killed, each character reveals some flaw, or acts in some insufferable manner, just begging for them to be offed for their awful behaviour. At each turn, someone (usually Kumiko) points out the obvious solution (like sticking together) before the rest of the group decides that the obvious solution makes no sense, and does the action that every horror-film buff knows will lead to imminent disaster (like running upstairs when you realize there's a killer in your house). Of course, Meg and TJ are the two characters who you realize are going to be around for a while, as they seem to be the only ones determined to solve the mystery of the killer. The others are content to spoon on the couch, or disappear by themselves until the next murder brings them all back together.
All of this would have been fine, I would have even enjoyed for its irony, if the characters didn't acknowledge how easily they fit into these horror tropes, before falling into their cliched roles. The first murder is staged as a suicide, which shocks everyone but they are able to write it off as nothing more. The second murder is swept under the rug as a tragic accident, even after Meg finds signs of foul play. By the third murder, everyone is becoming suspect but no one outright admits that there is a murderer on the loose! It was like McNeil was following a checklist of horror tropes, in an effort to cram as much of them as possible into Ten. Suspicions are raised and everyone begins to mistrust everyone else, which they acknowledge is very Lord of the Flies-esque. Check. People continue to be murdered after the group splits up, so the group continues to split up. Check. Details about the killer are slowly revealed to the protagonist, who keeps the clues to herself for fear of scaring the others. Check. The protagonist begins to suspect her romantic interest. Check. The killer delays in killing his last victim so he can have a heart-to-heart tell-all to fill in any holes left in his grand plan. Check. And the entire time, Meg is focused on her feelings for TJ! I just had a hard time entertaining the idea of a budding romance while the bodies piled up around them.
All that being said, Ten wasn't necessarily an unenjoyable read. I read it in a couple hours, over the course of an evening, so it was obviously very readable. But when I sat down to write about Ten all I could focus on was how predictable the plot was, because it was so formulaic in following stereotypical horror tropes. Even when I had my suspicions about the killer, I knew I would be wrong and that there would be a big twist I couldn't see coming, because it followed the formula I had come to expect. by Radiant Shadows