Monday, July 11, 2011

The Raising - Laura Kasischke

Summary:  Last year Godwin Honors Hall was draped in black.  The university was mourning the loss of one of its own:  Nicole Werner, a blond, beautiful, straight -- A sorority sister tragically killed in a car accident that left her boyfriend, who was driving, remarkably -- some say suspiciously -- unscathed.

Although a year has passed, as winter begins and the nights darken, obsession with Nicole and her death reignites:  She was so pretty.  So sweet-tempered.  So innocent.  Too young to die.

Unless she didn't.

Because rumor has it that she's back.

(Summary from book - Image from www.indiebound.org - Book given free for review)

My Review:  When I picked up The Raising and read the teaser on the back my mind went straight to zombies. Maybe that speaks more to my messed up psyche than anything else, but as it turns out, this book centers less around zombies and more around a mysterious death, betrayal, revenge, lust, and a truth so horrifying that some are willing to kill to keep it quiet.

The first section of this book focused more on back story and character development than plot progression, but revealed just enough to keep things interesting. I couldn’t quite guess where the book was going and that lack of certainty kept me flipping pages. At the same time, a few of the characters were repulsive, vulgar, and foul-mouthed.  I’m not the most sensitive reader, but even I have my limits, and if I hadn’t been stuck on a six-hour plane ride with no other form of entertainment, I might have put this book down and picked up something lighter.

However, the last third of the book is what kept me from calling it quits. By then, I had my ideas about how things were going to go down. I was fascinated with the progression of the story and had to know how it would end. The conclusion is eery, and while it gives some clarity to the situation, it leaves other things open to interpretation. I kind of loved and hated it.

The Raising had more depth than I expected, but I still have mixed emotions. It was a deliciously suspenseful novel with complex characters that felt real in all the good and not-so-good ways. However, the content was too graphic for my taste, which kept me from staying continually connected to the story or characters. Ultimately, whether you like this book or not will depend a great deal on how sensitive you are to graphic language and sexuality.

My Rating: 3 Stars.

For the sensitive reader:  Find another book. This one isn’t for you. I stopped tracking the things that might offend a sensitive reader less than ¼ of the way through the book.

Sum it up:  A book that was both engaging and repellent.

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