Title: THE CELLAR
Author: Natasha Preston
TW/CW: Kidnap, rape, abuse (physical and mental)
From Goodreads: Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out.
Hello, Flowers. Time for… a review.
So, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I mean, it had potential. But it was still pretty bad.
Our story revolves around Summer, a sixteen year old airhead who is kidnapped by a man in a white van. This man, Colin aka Clover, takes her to his house where he has kidnapped three other women and is keeping them in his basement… as flowers. I mean, not literally as flowers. He isn’t planting them or anything. He does, however, rename them after flowers and makes them dress like “proper ladies”. They have designated meal times, are allowed to knit, read books, watch movies, and clean. Because apparently Colin/Clover has OCD and of course it revolves around cleanliness. Oh, and he also has mommy issues and kills prostitutes.
There were 3 things that really killed this story for me.
First, Summer is the most boring protagonist of all time. All she did was cry, say “I’m scared”, and think about her boyfriend, Lewis. Not her family, not her friends, just her boyfriend of one year. We also get to see Lewis run around trying to find Summer… which is mostly just him saying he’s frustrated and cursing at people. And he totally figures out that Colin/Clover is the guilty party… with just a look.
Second, Colin/Clover’s backstory made NO SENSE. His dad had sex with prostitutes, his mom made Colin/Clover kill prostitutes, there are hints he had a sexual relationship with his mother, and when she died he decided to kidnap 4 women and name them after flowers? I needed more. I needed to know why four women? What happened to his mother? Between him and his mother? What was Colin/Clover’s big descent into madness? I definitely was not satisfied with “here’s a vague background… he’s just wild ok”.
Third… why didn’t those girls gang up on him? They had knitting needles, they had numbers… why in the world did they stand back and let one girl attack him? And none of them had been there long enough (except Rose who was apparently actually in love with him uhhhhh) to be afraid enough to not fight back. Stab him in the eye and get out. Seriously. Instead, Preston had the women cower and scream and cry.
Also, stabbing someone in the stomach with a pocketknife (like Colin/Clover did to the prostitutes) would not instantly kill them. Y’all, stop.
Here’s the thing- this book is bad. But it’s so bad that I enjoyed reading it. The ending was absolutely revolting and ridiculous and I wish Summer would have died just to spice things up, but no. But I have enjoyed hating this book. Terrible, yes. Terribly enjoyable… also yes.
Don’t go into this expecting to be wowed.