LOUISE MUMFORD ****
Four of them went to the hotel
Four students travel to Ravencliffe, an eerie abandoned hotel perched on steep cliffs on the Welsh coast. After a series of unexplained accidents, only three of them leave. The fourth, Leo, disappears, and is never seen again.
Only three of them came back
A decade on, the friends have lost contact. Oscar is fame-hungry, making public appearances and selling his story. Richard sank into alcoholism and is only just recovering. Bex just wants to forget – until one last opportunity to go back offers the chance to find out what really happened to Leo.
Ten years later, they return one last time
But as soon as they get to the hotel things start going wrong again. Objects mysteriously disappear and reappear. Accidents happen. And Bex realises that her former friends know far more than they are letting on about the true events at Ravencliffe that night…
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The Hotel - from the cover and blurb I was thinking more of a psychological thriller of three friends reunited years after a traumatic event. I was less prepared for a certain amount of horror to be in the story as well!
The story is told from the perspective of Bex, who is a somewhat unreliable narrator. The chapters are also split between present day timeline and 10 years earlier, when the sinister events at the old Ravencliffe Hotel happened and led to the mysterious death of Leo. The switch in timelines helps to keep the pace and tension high and to drip-feed certain aspects of information to us. I would say that in the ARC version, these aren’t labelled as well as they could be, with no heading for the present day and ’10 years earlier’ for the past ones. However, these are not always labelled as some chapters are back to back which made it a little confusing to work out which timeline we were in. I think perhaps a ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ convention for every chapter would be more helpful, as it is always 10 years ago in the past chapters.
The story is a little predictable – I had mostly guessed the main twist by the end, although there was an aspect I was not expecting. I think this is more down to the fact that there is a small cast of characters than an issue with the writing though! I really loved the descriptions of the abandoned hotel and the part of the storyline which examines the past of the building and its inhabitants was nicely integrated into the plot.
Each character is well defined and there are enough red-herrings to try and lead you astray as it went along. Bex was quite hard to empathise with initially, but I think she is kept at arms-length for a reason to add to the suspect pool, so I didn’t mind too much. Some parts are quite creepy, but it never ventures into complete horror genre territory and does not become too unrealistic either.
Overall, The Hotel is a creepy, fast-paced read that I found hard to put down. Thank you to NetGalley & HQ Stories for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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