Saturday, March 10, 2012
Book Review #5 - Mama
Title: Mama by Robin Morris
Released: January 10, 2012. First published May 4, 2011
Copy Owned: Free signed copy from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway *Thanks for signing it!* :-D
This book will have you biting down your nails in anticipation. At least, that's what it did with me.
When it first arrived at my door, after looking at the cover for awhile, I was under the impression it was gonna be something sort of like Wrong Turn, the literary version. I wasn't put off, but I wasn't super anxious, either.
It didn't take long for me to get over that minor hump.
It went something like this:
*read through first page* Ohh?
*read through second page* 0_0
*read through third page* hmmms...
Morris starts the book in the middle of an action sequence, which pulled me right in without even feeling the need to try to get acquainted with the characters first. You get that little rush of adrenaline and curiosity overrides everything else. You don't know what's going on, but you do know that you can't keep yourself from wanting to know...and there you have it...you're stuck in the game.
Crafty, Morris...very, very crafty.
Mama and her brood of uglies
They come from what they term as "The Real," which they claim is on the other side of the veil. If you're into all of that alternative-spiritual/other-world stuff, you'd know what the veil is. The Real is vicious, The Real is cruel, it's every man for himself in The Real. That's what brings Mama and her band of ugly misfits into the human realm. The "Toy World" she calls it because humans are toys that exist for them to play with...or learn the lessons on cruelty Mama claims her children need to learn in order to survive their own world.
That's how it's always been in her family.
The book starts off with death, thanks to Mama and her brood, then goes on to the slight introduction of the Conovers; a family of four, making their way up north due to financial troubles and the fact that the father, an actor *and loser*, couldn't land a gig good enough to support his family. The plan is to move in with the mother-in-law and get a stable job. The wife seems pleasant enough and so does their son, who right off the bat, we're shown that he's not your average obnoxious 'tweenie boy. The daughter is a piece of work like her father is. Selfish, sarcastic, self-centered. Yup, that sums up the father/daughter duo.
It didn't take long for Mama and her kids to set their sights on the Conovers...and you wouldn't believe just how simple the reason that they were chosen was. I'll leave that up to you to find out.
Their game starts with a smiling face in a window, scaring the daylights out of the Conover boy, Michael. Nobody likes feeling like they're going bonkers. From that point, it turns into blatant stalking, you know how creepy it is when you're on a road trip...and you notice that everywhere you go, you see the same exact car or person? I had a bad Wolf Creek flashback while reading this. XD Soon, the stalking becomes more than just following them and faces in windows. Mrs Conover is knocked down in a gas station mini-mart, Alison, the Conover girl, meets Alvin and Ruby, 2 of Mama's children, outside of the Conover's motel room, and Michael see's and feels the other children's presence inside the motel room.
Nobody knows how, yet, but Mama and her brood are able to pass through doors and walls, they can come and go anywhere...they can see you or find you anywhere...and they do.
The Conovers get spooked and unintentionally draw in the next victim. Mama doesn't discriminate. Cops aren't to be feared, either...besides an enforcer toy could come in handy, right? The book really took off when Andy stepped into the story, in my opinion. He amped up the suspense and as the reader, I was torn between who I wanted to survive more. Cops get a bad rap in our world, but this guy was a good guy, and it felt like he got dealt a bad hand. His crime? Being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
From there, the story took me on a wave of emotions. I was anxious, angry, nervous, then impatient, and sad. Morris took a cliche concept (serial killer family killing travelers) and turned it into something more. It was a total shocker when I discovered Mama and her children weren't super humans, but something totally different...and at points in the book, I felt like I couldn't bring myself to hate her the way I wanted to because she had come across brainwashed about what they were doing. The book indirectly has you reflecting on moral aspects like that, without it being all in-your-face about it. It was a wild ride, but in the end it was a ride worth taking.
The ending satisfied me enough and it was fitting. I was saddened by the deaths of 2 out of 3 of my faves, but considering the fact that this is a horror story, it just wouldn't feel right if everyone I came to attach myself to survived.
What I didn't like very much was the cover of the book. It's eye-catching enough, but I feel that it's too generic for a story like this. If this book doesn't get much attention, I'd blame the cover, because I wouldn't look at it twice if I seen it on a shelf in a store. It's not so bad that I'd let it affect my overall rating of the book, though, which is a whopping 5 stars.
Do I recommend this book to others? You're damn skippy, I do. Hell, I recommend that it be put to film. I know I'd watch this if it was made into a movie.
If you're looking for a super-fast read and love feeling lost and helpless along with the characters, go for it. Even if you enjoy witnessing others feeling lost and helpless, read it. :-P