ARC · Book Review

ARC Review: Final Girls – Riley Sager

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Release Date: July 11th, 2017

After ten years, Quincy Carpenter is just trying to escape the title of Final Girl and what happened at Pine Cottage. The lone survivor of a massacre that took the lives of her five friends and killer, she is one of three girls known to the world as the Final Girls.

When Lisa Milner, a survivor of a sorority house slaughter, commits suicide, Quincy is thrown into a tailspin. Her perfect facade begins to break down when the last Final Girl, Samantha Boyd, shows up on Quincy’s doorstep after eight years of being off the grid.

Quincy has buried the memories down deep, a whole hour gone from that horrible night. After ten years she still hasn’t retrieved those memories, but time with Sam brings Quincy back. Can she face the past before it comes back to find her?

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This is going to be the horror thriller of the summer.

I read Final Girls in two days, and if I could of pulled it off I would have stayed up all night! Sadly getting too old to do that…

The concept of the Final Girl comes from the trope seen mainly in slasher flicks, especially of the 70’s and 80’s. Think Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street.

Along with the horror element, there’s a few mystery plotlines going on, which propels the story and keeps up the fiery pace. As soon as the pace starts to dip, Sager drops another bomb on the reader.

But beneath the pulpy horror is a story that really hit home with me. How others try to put their own narrative on a victim. Everyone around Quincy wants her to be happy and normal, and to please others Quincy in turn puts up this perfect version of herself.

The shabby chic upper Manhattan food blogger, full of cutesy and perfectly normal. All Quincy’s loved ones care more about her showing that this traumatic event didn’t define her life and that she has put ‘everything behind her’. As the story unfolds, it is very clear that Quincy never got ‘over’ what happen at Pine Cottage, and it’s upsetting that everyone acts like that’s an easy feat.

But the expectation put upon Quincy is that she is ‘less than’ if she doesn’t go back to being a normal person. Some serious victim blaming going on, and I just wanted Quincy to gain some agency back. Thankfully, I felt this storyline was given a perfect ending.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard from other reviews of the Finals Girls is Quincy herself, that the character is unlikable and makes terrible decisions. Honestly, I think both of those are due to what Quincy has gone through, which was hell. I personally didn’t find Quincy unlikable, but she’s definitely a difficult character.

In reference to Quincy’s decision making, I expect someone who has repressed so much, and then faced multiple difficult revelations (and dealing with her own darkness!), to not make the best life choices.

I feel like as a well-adjusted adult I still make bad decisions when faced with difficult situations. I just don’t understand why people dismiss books where the lead makes bad decisions. I get that it’s frustrating, but I think that’s the point. As long as those poor decisions make sense to the narrative, and I understand why the character made them, then I’m cool. Of course Quincy jumps to conclusions, the situation she finds herself in is 100% bonkers!

Most mysteries tend to tip their hand too early or lose steam, and I never felt that way with Final Girls. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, something new blows up my theory. Honestly, one of the biggest reveals probably could’ve had some extra breadcrumbs for the audience.

For all my horror and mystery lovers out there, make sure you check out Final Girls!

Score: 9/10

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6 thoughts on “ARC Review: Final Girls – Riley Sager

  1. I am with you on “unlikable” characters – as long as their actions ring true and make sense given their past, I’m fine with them. I don’t need to be best friends with my book characters! I just need to find them believable.

    Liked by 1 person

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