Escape Room — Maren Stoffels
Escape Room felt like a B-teen horror movie in book form. Fortunately, I love B-movies, especially teen horror movies (the worse, the better!), so if you don’t, this book might not be for you. It’s quick fun that I would not necessarily recommend unless I know for sure that you like B-teen horror movies. And escape rooms.
The book is about four friends who decide to do an escape room together. Because it is essentially a teen horror movie, there are lots of secret crushes, jealousy, resentment, and stereotypes abound (you get the universally accepted good-looking one, the loud good-looking one, the good-looking one who does not know it, and the outcast, lol). It certainly felt like high school again, lol
What I did like was how (intentionally) bad the communication was within the group. Things happen and are perceived differently by the four friends, but they never talk about it with each other. Instead, they let their assumptions grow and fester, which makes their actions understandable later on. This aspect, I thought, was well done.
The story itself is as expected. Some of it is quite predictable, but to put it in B-movie terms, at least there’s popcorn. You walk in more or less knowing what you’re going to get. If you compare it to the movie with the same name (which is not related to the book at all, but I imagine readers might pick up the book with the movie in mind), it’s a bit underwhelming.
This is definitely a me thing, but I don’t like the trope of one person being the object of affection in the entire group. Like everyone wants them, whether it be for looks, money, smarts, intimidation, whatever. I tend not to like it, because it makes the other characters’ motives a bit one-dimensional. This book is no exception, especially when one of the twists is that…HOVER FOR SPOILER For me, it’s not an engaging side story for people trapped in a death room.
Speaking of which, there isn’t a lot of “escape room” in the escape room. There aren’t many riddles or things that go wrong with the room itself. So if you are expecting actual puzzles, like me, there aren’t (m)any.
In short, I wouldn’t say Escape Room is bad. I enjoyed it, but I have a lot of disclaimers (see above).
Quick note: this book is originally in Dutch, and I read the German translation. I can’t comment on the author’s writing style. If I’m basing it on the translation, it’s quick and breezy. One of the characters’ names is misspelled once, which was confusing because it was basically during his introduction lol, but overall it wasn’t bad.
Keywords to help you decide: YA suspense, multiple POV, teen romances, quick read, escape room