Review: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (June 26, 2018)
288 pages; $21.59 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Jonathan Reitan

Before you know it, and in just one breath, you’ve already read the first 50 pages of Paul Tremblay’s summer release The Cabin At The End Of The World. It’s that good.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents Andrew and Eric are vacationing in a remote New Hampshire cabin when the young girl is unexpectedly greeted in the front yard by a large man named Leonard. Although a stranger to Wen and her family, Leonard charms her by helping collect grasshoppers while the unknowing parents lounge not too far away on their lake-side porch. After playfully chatting with and charming the sweet girl, Leonard suddenly speaks the most unnerving words put to page in recent memory. “None of what’s going to happen is your fault.” Out of nowhere, three more strangers, a man and two women, join Leonard and Wen in the front yard carrying barbaric weapons with the warning of, “Your dads won’t want to let us in Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”  

The strangers are not let into the house without a strong fight by parents Andrew and Eric and, once in, they explain their mysterious arrival to the family. Leading the small pack of what seems at first to be doomsday cult members, Leonard explains that the family must choose to willingly sacrifice one of the three family members by their own hands in order to prevent a pending apocalypse. With each delay put forth by the family in their own Sophie’s Choice, a cycle of the warned apocalypse starts taking effect seen only by violently disturbing graphics on cable television news. With each calculated cycle, the violence turns bloodier within the cabin walls as well.

With the huge success of Tremblay’s first mainstream release, the award-winning A Head Full of Ghosts, and constant praises by fan Stephen King, it’s no surprise that the film rights to The Cabin at the End of the World were picked up well before the book’s release. This work begs for a summer blockbuster on the big screen.

While the apocalyptic action of Cabin is not on the forefront, it will remain one of the most important pieces of apocalyptic fiction of this era. The author uses a finely crafted story of family love to pull at the heart strings in this often violent and emotional page turner. It’s not too often a reviewer is able to warn with a work of bloody horror that tears will likely be shed. The incredible choices this family must make, the unseen chaos outside the cabin walls and the bloodshed will leave you broken as a reader but hungry for more. Tremblay has once again added another work to horror readers’ top ten lists with The Cabin at the End of the World. Get ready for this memorable ride!

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