EXCERPT: I don’t wish to frighten you, but it’s impossible to explain any other way. Please do not go to the gas station in Arenas. The American’s store. Do not go there on August 14, 2009. I don’t want to scare you, but it could be the day of your death. Don’t go. I’m sorry, I had to warn you.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: I don’t wish to frighten you, reads the anonymous note introverted and bullied eight-year-old Leo Cruz finds in his backpack. All the sender asks is that he avoid a certain spot on a certain day, or he’ll die. Leo has reason to be afraid. The warning hearkens back to nearly a decade ago—to the same site, where a murder has become local folklore and a favorite campfire tale reinvented year after year by the kids of Arenas, a small Spanish town.
Leo’s parents initially suspect the lonely boy’s cruel classmates. The perfect joke to terrorize an impressionable victim. Unless, as they come to believe, it’s Leo himself who is the author of the warning.
Is Leo being lured to an unavoidable fate? Is someone taking bullying to a dangerous new level? Or is there something else at work in Arenas, a town with intersecting destinies and a century of secrets?
MY THOUGHTS: I am going to start with an excerpt from the author’s foreword….’I reread The Warning today and suffer when I discover certain passages that I’d never write in the same way now. I wince at each confusing shift in point of view, I roll my eyes at certain similes and metaphors, and I cringe at characters’ intrusive thoughts.’
I feel your pain Paul Pen. I really do, as I did throughout this read. The shifts in not only the point of view, but also the timelines, was confusing. Very confusing. The story doesn’t flow at all. It ought to have been creepy and suspenseful – the plot certainly had all the right ingredients – but I felt none of that. In fact, by the time I reached the 40% point, I was skimming, and I continued to do so through to the 90% point where it finally caught my interest.
I felt nothing for any of the characters – they are simply awful and unlikable, except for poor little Leo, bullied both at school and at home, and Linda, the housekeeper.
I would love to see Paul Pen rewrite this book now, knowing what he does now with several more novels to his name. I believe it would be a vastly different book. There is so much potential that could be explored and developed.
THE AUTHOR: Paul Pen is an Amazon top-3 best-selling Spanish author whose four novels have been translated to English, German, Italian, Russian and Turkish. His book The Light of the Fireflies has sold over 150,000 copies worldwide, while his debut novel El aviso —soon to be published in English for the first time—was adapted to the big screen in 2018. Motion pictures of The Light of the Fireflies and Desert Flowers are also in development, the latter scripted by Pen himself. In his capacity as scriptwriter, Paul Pen is also working on a forthcoming Netflix series.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Crossing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Warning by Paul Pen for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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