Source: Local library
When Elliott and his brother move into the old and crumbling Glebe House they don't expect to find themselves sharing it with ghosts. But soon sinister events are unfolding. An old diary reveals glimpses of the mansion's past - and of a terrible tragedy. An old woman talks to ghosts - but is she in fact being controlled by them? And what of the sinister East Wing - a hideous labyrinth devised by a truly twisted mind? Can Elliott and his family escape the clutches of Glebe House? Or will they end up trapped in the endless maze of corridors, forever hunted by the dead?
It's been a while since I've read a ghost story so I thought I'd borrow this for some fun. I shouldn't judge since I haven't read all that many horror books, but frankly I was not impressed. I'm not the type to get nightmares after reading or watching something scary so maybe this will influence the rest of this review, just a word of warning.
It says at the very first line of the back cover "The Hunting Ground is not for younger readers" (in capitals, mind you) so that perked my interest. I think McNish did an alright job of the introduction - the first few lines are quite absorbing and you want to know more. It was interesting and I was really fixed on the book for the first few chapters before I felt it getting a bit 'repetitive'. Not in the way that a similar thing occurs again and again, but in a way that made me feel as if I was half-conscious of reading it at all. There were no particular stand-outs to make me feel on edge or nervous for the most part of the book. For a ghost story, it was captivating enough to make me keep reading but not enough to make me excited.
The brothers Elliott and Ben were alright as characters, even though Ben did weird and confusing things sometimes. That was planned as a part of the tricks done to him, but either way it was unclear and I couldn't make much sense out of it. One really big flaw is in the Dad. He made the story really unrealistic and you just can't believe it. He's too gullible and doesn't depict the stereotyped fatherly figure. That's good because it makes him pretty original and unique as a character, but in a ghost story he can't just believe what his sons are telling him like that. He gets too absorbed into the whole 'lets face the problem together' scheme with his sons that it's ridiculous. Sure, there were plenty of clues and evidence that there were ghosts in the house, but he just took it too seriously.
THRILLER STORY, Y U NO THRILL? I'll admit that when I was around three quarters through the book I began to get more into the book because we were getting near to the end but it could have been a lot better. I was particularly disappointed with the last few chapters much to my disbelief - I thought it would finally get better and come up with a magnificent surprise ending but no. Surprise ending yes, sort of, but only because it wasn't all that great. A typical 'happy ever after' ending which can be alright when used appropriately at times, but it just didn't work for me in The Hunting Ground.
Overall, it wasn't great. I need to emphasize this point - where's the scary? I read into the night before bed and I didn't feel scared, nor did I get a nightmare. I think I dreamed but It wasn't even remotely scary, as my memory recalls. Maybe I'm just really emotion-less or something, because I think I kept a pretty blank face throughout the whole book. If you like to read ghost stories but is scared of getting freaked out, you should read it. Two and a half stars from me this time.