I have finished my first RIP book! And let me just say, it’s always wonderful when an event like RIP starts out so well. This book? Absolute perfect opener.
When Ambrose Wells dies, his second-cousin-twice-removed inherits the house and all of its contents. The cousin, known only as A., only learns about Wells at this inheritance, and he travels from Europe with his companion – a mute, punk, teenage Irish girl named Niamh (“Neeve”) – to claim his new home and riches. The house, however, carries a dark secret that infects the occupants within.
That’s all I’m going to say about that. There is so much more, revealed slowly over diary entries, letters, audio recordings, advertisements, psychological sessions, book excerpts, and security cameras. Just when you think you might know where the story is heading, it turns out that you have no idea. There are so many false trails, and new revelations all the way up to the head-spinning epilogue.
I don’t even know how to begin to classify this kind of book. Part-mystery, part-thriller, part-horror, part-folktale, part-mysticism…I could just go on. It was one of the most unique books I’ve ever read, both in the story itself, and in its structure. About a quarter of the way through, I gave up trying to unravel everything and just went along for the ride. (Especially during the complicated cryptography sessions. I’m good at math and logic, but no.) The ride was awesome.
Back in 2008, I read several mystical/supernatural thrillers that left me dissatisfied, because they felt predictable and unoriginal. I mentioned in my reviews that I really wanted to find a book in that general genre that used religious, mystical, or supernatural phenomena in a new and different way, or which used a religious, mystical, or supernatural system that was new and different altogether. I never found one…until now. This is exactly what I was looking for. I have no idea if the systems laid out in here are based on real ones out in the world or not, but they were completely unknown to me, and brilliantly drawn. I am a happy and impressed Manda.
There is a lot left unsaid and unexplained in The Supernatural Enhancements – or, at least, it felt that way to me, but I concede that it’s possible a lot simply went over my head. That didn’t bother me, though. The ending, which again blew me out of the water, made me rethink the entire book. Rereading with the new information, of course, would clear up some mysteries, but I think the book was meant to be cryptic in some ways. I don’t think we’re supposed to know everything. That fits the themes of the book, and I like that, as a reader, I got to mirror the characters’ searchings and ignorance in a way.
So yeah. Great book, great opener for RIP. It made me a happy girl.