Review: Carousel, Brendan Ritchie

October 2, 2016 Reviews 2 ★★★★

Review: Carousel, Brendan RitchieCarousel by Brendan Ritchie
Published by Fremantle Press on April 22nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository • Bookworld

Nox is an arts graduate wondering what to do with his life. Taylor and Lizzy are famous indie musicians, and Rocky works the checkouts at Target.

When they find themselves trapped in a giant shopping centre, they eat fast food, watch bad TV and wait for the mess to be sorted. But when days turn to weeks, a sense of menace grows.

angelyas_reviewDid you ever dream, as a kid, how awesome it would be to be trapped in a shopping centre overnight?

Nox, Taylor and Lizzy are trapped in Carousel Shopping Centre in Perth. Nox already knows Taylor and Lizzy – they are are twin sisters, in a band, Canadian, lesbians, and awesome. There’s nothing special about Nox, though. He’s just an Arts graduate in his early twenties, on his way to work. Rocky was on his way to his shift at Target when he became trapped inside with them. All the shops are open and the power is on, but they can’t get out of the centre, and the four of them are alone in there. Or are they?

As the months tick by, outside life seems to have disappeared. There are no people, cars or even planes outside. The group creates a life for themselves in the centre, in between escape attempts. Nox sets up his bedroom in Myer and meets the others in JB Hi-Fi to watch DVDs. The girls set up camp in Dymocks and work their way through the shelves. They gather food from Coles and the fast food outlets – at first it is plentiful, but as the months tick by, fresh food becomes scarce. There’s not a lot else to do but record new music, and Nox finds himself writing short stories to pass the time…

This debut Aussie novel was so tense, I couldn’t put it down and nearly missed my stop on the train a couple of times. The pace is rather gentle, and Nox spends a lot of the time just wandering around describing the everyday routine in the centre, but the gradual building of tension is there and it gives Carousel a very creepy feeling.

beyondcarouselI don’t want to give away any of the plot details, because honestly, I think it is way better if you go into it with no idea of what is actually going on! Make sure you have the second book, Beyond Carousel, on hand when you finish the first one though – nothing is resolved and I had to keep reading right away. In Beyond Carousel, even the information they do find out about the Disappearance and what is going on in the world is scarce and mostly rumour, but the duology kept me guessing until close to the end, and even then, there are unanswered questions.

And now, bizarrely, I feel that if I ever get to visit Perth, I need to make a special trip out to Cannington to Westfield Carousel.

Read these books if you enjoy creepy thrillers, with a touch of the paranormal. Musicians, Authors and Artists of all kinds will find something that resonates in this duology as well.

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