Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Feral by Holly Schindler 
Publisher- Harper Teen
Released- Aug 26th 2014
Pre-Order - Amazon / B & N

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.
But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
My Thoughts:
Our story starts in Chicago, in an alley, where Claire Cain was viciously attacked by a gang of drug dealers. Months later, Claire's father wanted to get her away from the haunting memories and accepted his sabbatical semester in Peculiar, Missouri. Hopeful of a fresh start with no reminders of what she endured in Chicago, Claire found Peculiar living up to it's name when strange things started to happen with Claire somehow in the middle between a missing girl an urban legend and hungry feral cats. What happened to Claire and the missing girl, Serena, connected them, but with the staggering similarities they also shared prompted Claire to make it her mission and solve the mystery surrounding Serena's death. They all say it was an accident, but Claire knows it was murder.

First off, I have to give huge props for this creepy as hell concept. I don't think I've read anything like this, definitely a new spin on supernatural books. Schindler writing is very bold and unflinching, the way she sets the tone of the book and how she describes some of the more brutal scenes were all vividly graphic and left very little to the imagination. She draws the reader through the eyes of two victims who are, in their own way, trying to survive and while it wasn't always clear why they were connected, the intrigue, mystery and suspense made this an incredibly consuming read. However, while the writing was indeed strong, it tended to get a bit repetitive at times and there were some pockets in the pacing that felt a little dragged out.

I was really impressed with Claire. I respect her strength and bravery to move forward after such a vicious attack and my heart really went out to her for everything that she's been put through both in Chicago and Peculiar.  She's a fighter, a survivor and only knows one ways to face her darkness, which is head-on. But she also has a very deep morbid side throughout the book, I can understand the why's but at times it felt a little overwhelming and depressing. 
I'm not sure what I can say about the other characters in this book, I liked Rich and I loved Claire's dad, but other then that, I can't say that I really liked anyone else. The way they were first introduced felt awkward and rushed since Claire barely knew any of  her classmates but they didn't seem very shy to share personal information and problems with each other and about Serena. They're a very dramatic group that were hard to connect with and weren't very likeable. 
Then we have Serena, which despite being dead, I feel I understood fairly well through memories and her own horrific experience. She was a good girl, but death has warped her into something vicious and wrong. I do love the way Schindler portrayed her and I have to say, she has a pretty dame wicked version of what death is like. It was probably the most freakiest part of the entire story.
I liked the ending and even though I guessed who the murderer was early on, the why's still surprised me. I was also left a bit confused between the supernatural events that took place and Claire's PTSD. The explanation was fuzzy and I was never quite sure what was real and what was a hallucination. Also, sadly there was zero romance in this one, which was disappointing since Claire could have used the distraction from all the trauma in her life and it would have been nice to see her happy for a change.  

All in all, Feral turned out to be one helluva read. It's a dark, disturbing and a different supernatural thriller mystery that may have had some flawed moments, but overall still an entertaining and edgy escape perfect for fans who like there stories gory and gruesome. A chilling read!  

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                                3.5 Snowflakes


  1. Ok you win, I'll add it to my TBR list. I'm always up for a original concept. Plus i love a protagonist that's a survivor. Enjoyed the review. Matt @ JC's Book Haven.

  2. Haha! This was definitely original, hope you enjoy:-)

  3. I really wanted to like this one, but I ended up giving it two stars. You are right on a lot of things about the meeting with Becca and the gang being rushed, also the repetitive feeling. I think the ending is what really made it go downhill..because I am sure that all she had was PTSD and thought she was seeing things and it wasn't were I thought the book was going to go..but it was an original concept.