"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

05 March 2013

Review: Hysteria - Megan Miranda

 Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.

My review of Hysteria 5*:

Hysteria was a complex, dramatic and gripping story with a spooky and emotionally charged premise. It had me hooked from the beginning with its disorientating narrative, haunting storyline and surprising characters. I really enjoyed it, it was creepy and disturbing but exciting. It had me glued to its pages in a terrified kind of way. It had me a little traumatised. Hysteria had me scared of what was awaiting me in the darkness, made me scared of looking over my shoulder just in case someone was there breathing down my neck.

It was a powerful, intense and eerie tale full of suspense and intrigue that had me utterly fascinated by its dark and chilling account of death, loss, love and friendship. The psychology of the story drew me in and I loved getting inside Mallory’s head and seeing her demons laid bare, experiencing her fear and paranoia. I also enjoyed seeing the complexity of the human psyche depicted and how loss and death changes a person mentally. The chilling, disorientating narrative had me hooked and the descriptions of Mallory in bed at night was completely haunting, eerie and terrifying. The disjointed narrative kept me reading on and on and I loved how the story switched from the present to the events of that night and as it all slowly comes back to Mallory, the reader learns of what truly happened to make her kill her boyfriend. The story sucked me in right from the first page and I read on eager to know what was awaiting Mallory and me in the darkness.

Hysteria tells the tale of Mallory, a young girl killed her boyfriend Brian and who must now live with the consequences of her actions. The events of that night are foggy and unclear to her but she can remember the knife, the blood and her fear. She is haunted terribly by that fateful night, physically and mentally. She no longer feels welcome at home, the scene of the crime and her family enrol her in Monroe, a prep school to start afresh. But Mallory soon learns that she cannot escape her past wherever she goes. She is haunted, followed by something, someone in the darkness that chills her to the very bone. She wakes every morning with deep bruises on her arms and bloody handprints on her body. Something is terrorising her forcing her to breaking point. Events take a turn for the worse at Monroe and Mallory finds herself in the centre of some shocking events.

I loved Mallory. Yes I loved a killer. That is just how good Miranda is as an author, at characterisation. She presents you with a protagonist with blood on her hands, a killer who you cannot help but empathise with, who you grow to care for and worry for. Plagued by memories of that night, Mallory experiences trauma night after night. She hears whispers in the darkness, feels a presence looming over her at night. I loved how the author toyed with her sanity and the readers, by making you question and reassess Mallory’s sanity and her actions. You start to think, is she inflicting it all on herself or is she truly seeing and experiencing such terrible things? I loved Mallory’s strength even in the face of weakness. She was a strong protagonist that I rooted for throughout the book, someone willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect herself and those that she loves in the face of danger. She is eager to return to normal life, have a boyfriend, reunite with her parents and friends but she is haunted by the past, something that she must understand and overcome to do so.

The other characters within the novel were full of depth and character. Quite a number of them seemed stereotypical at first but they are not as they seem. They all have skeletons hiding in their closets and deep, dark secrets hidden within. Some of the characters surprised and shocked me and turned out to be completely different to than what I was expecting which is an aspect I completely enjoyed. One of my favourite relationships within the novel is Mallory’s friendship with Colleen. I absolutely adored Colleen. Mallory’s best friend, she is the epitome of loyalty, love and friendship and sticks by her side despite knowing her friends deepest, darkest secret. I just loved seeing them interact with one another and how Mallory showed her fun and carefree side when around her. Her relationship with Reid was sweet and touching, a bit of light in the darkness. I loved how he was always at her side, comforting her, making her laugh and never doubting her despite all the rumours. I really liked his character, he seemed sweet and genuine.

The setting of Monroe heightened the feeling of unease and secrecy that surrounded the novel. It is a strange, unfamiliar, lonely and mysterious place full of shadows and secrets. At first it symbolises a fresh start, a new lease of life for Mallory but it is soon revealed that lies, treachery, deceit and death lurk in the dark corners and hallways of the Academy. I loved how it was described as being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the forest. It symbolised Mallory’s loneliness and alienation perfectly.

Hysteria completely exceeded my expectations and blew me away with a fast paced and complex tale that pushed my sanity to breaking point. It toyed with my emotions and kept me guessing right up until the end. I had no idea in what direction the story was heading and I just loved the suspense of it all. It is definitely the kind of story that makes you want to sleep with the light on. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a complex, compelling, exciting and gripping tale. It completely surprised me and I devoured it, a little terrified but utterly hooked.

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading Hysteria next! I haven't read Fracture yet, but I am looking forward to reading that too some day. Thanks for sharing! :)

    rowena of Quick Candles - Votive


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