Monday, September 4, 2023

Review: The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda

by Megan Miranda
Release Date: April 11, 2023
2023 Marysue Rucci Books
Kindle Edition; 978-1668010419
Audiobook: B0B4ZQ9LV4
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

A mystery about a group of former classmates who reunite to mark the tenth anniversary of a tragic accident—only to have one of the survivors disappear, casting fear and suspicion on the original tragedy.
My Thoughts
The Only Survivors was a pretty slow burn, and although there were some good twists and turns and definitely some interesting moments, I found the characters and their motives to be unclear due to poor character development, something that made this book sometimes a chore to get through.

Ten years ago, a group of classmates was in a serious bus accident while on a school trip, and most of them did not survive. Every year, the survivors get together to remember the tragedy, to reflect and remember those who lost their lives. When one of the survivors disappears, the other survivors become fearful, wondering if one of the other survivors is responsible. 

Honestly, I liked the setting as it was desolate, with neighbours who are secretive, but also concerned with who comes to stay in their lonely part of the world.  I like these type of settings as I think the author can do quite a bit with isolated houses, and while she did, I felt like some of it just didn't make sense. One of the other survivors just disappears because the reunion is too difficult for her, doesn't leave a note other than a secretive one, and this doesn't arouse too many suspicions? I get the author needs to adds secrecy and puzzles to a story, but this one just didn't work for me. And then when they all went looking for her? Seemed like it was for just a way to add drama to a story.

The book does alternate between present day events and events from the past, the past being told from each survivor's perspective. I actually found those sections to be far more interesting than the present-day stuff as it gave you a greater picture of the dynamics between the people and an overview of what drew these people together. In the present day, I just didn't feel any connection between them and that had to do with poor character development as each character felt so one-dimensional.  The present-day scenario is told only from Cassidy's POV as well, which I didn't think helped.
The Only Survivors is enjoyable overall, but it is definitely not a memorable one as I had to refer to my notes to write this review. There were some good twists and turns in this story, but I don't think that was enough to rescue it from a slow burn beginning as well as having characters that just don't have enough time on the page to develop any empathy for them.  I didn't really care for Cassidy as a character and would have preferred to learn about one, or more, of the other characters instead.  In the end, if you like slow-burn mysteries, this may be something for you. Personally, I don't mind slow burn, and it was definitely atmospheric in nature, but I do like there to be some meat to the story and the characters, and there just wasn't enough.