Review: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Release Date: January 10th

This book took me a while to get through, but not because it wasn’t good. Even though I read an unedited ARC kindly provided by the publisher, the writing was clean (and beautiful).

Full disclosure: First, adventure movies are my very favorite genre of movie but I’ve never read an adventure book that didn’t include magic in some way. Second, the reason I picked this book up was that last year I went on a white water rafting trip gone wrong which was actually a bit traumatic. So, for good or for bad, I was constantly comparing this story to my experience and I think I was more scared and drawn into the action rather than the characters because of this. All that said, this was my experience with this book:

What I really appreciated about this book:

Erica has a very crisp way with her word use, short, poignant and to the point. The book was very description heavy, but that’s what I like in a book really. The tension built up very well even in her mundane descriptions, how she described the increasing remoteness of their location, the predatory looks and nature of the locals. Wini’s reticence and feeling of peer pressure when they’re about to head out on their trip.

The white water rafting action was nail biting, so nail biting I actually considered putting the book down for good a couple times because I was freaking scared. As I said, this probably had everything to do with my own experience and though I put the book down a couple times, I was still drawn back in because the experience was so real and I wanted to know what happened. I think Ericka’s incredible descriptions made the river trip and the hike very real feeling and that definitely added to the tension.

Mild spoiler: When their white water trip turns disastrous, and the women seek out the fire that they hope will lead them to rescue, during this section the tension was really high and I was definitely turning (digital) pages. And from that point forward, the descriptions and tension stayed so high that the book really pulls you through its rapids (lol, sorry so corny).

What I didn’t appreciate so much:

Unfortunately, I really didn’t relate to the characters. I just didn’t connect emotionally with the four MCs. Wini is depressed and extremely down on herself and the world around her. In some ways this appeals to a woman’s basest most self-deprecating self, but I felt that her down-opinion of her world didn’t appeal to me. As she strengthens through this book, she did in many ways appeal more but all that was toppled when she made one essential decision.  The other characters I felt were fed to me in chunks and while I wanted to like Pia and Sandra (definitely not Rachel), I had a really hard time feeling their personalities and inter-friendships. I feel like there should have been more flashbacks or something–their history is discussed but not lived through. My only other complaint was the ending kind of dwindled off which made me lose interest right at the end which is never a good thing.

All that said, I loved the action, the descriptions the fight for survival. This book definitely had me on the edge of my seat and  the twists and turns came unexpectedly which is always fun. And one more thing . . . at the risk of sounding shallow, sigh, just look at that cover for a minute. I don’t mind admitting it, I just liked the look of this book in my kindle library 🙂

*Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a review copy to read and review

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Buy it here: Amazon

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