Funnily enough, two books came in from the library (from my reserve list) at the same time: this one and Stephen King's Roadwork. So, I've got back to back horror books to read.
I liked the writing style and that Bohjalian used second person narration for the Chip chapters and third person for everything else. Clearly Chip is the main character but I liked that he mixed perspectives in the narration.
I was also struck by a passage: "The thing is, you went to Sunday school as a little boy, but by college you were no longer capable of reconciling childhood cancer, genocidal warfare, and mudslides that obliterated whole villages wand buried babies alive with any kind of diving presence." I know this is a fairly common reason that people turn away from religion and I have heard this sentiment often before. HOWEVER I was struck this time just thinking about how ridiculous it is. I mean, I am agnostic and have lots of fun commenting on religious hypocrisy and idiocy BUT I never really noticed how absurd this reasoning is for atheism was before. I mean really, if God lets us die he must not exist? What? How completely narcissistic are we as an animal if humanity accepts this as a reason for non-belief. Where are our rational arguments and why is the fact that God and Santa (better not cry, better not pout...) sound like the same person not enough to make the above average intelligent person scoff at religion? Sorry, I realize that this has little to do with this book, but again the passage struck me.
I thought that Bohjalian's subtle hints were enough to figure out what was going on with all the baked goods and plants and fountain of youth problem fairly early. If anything, I thought the overt explanations unnecessary and redundant. I also wondered early why no one bothered to study to become a doctor so that they could do blood transfusions (think red cross donation truck) cleaner and safer than just cutting open a kid's arm (especially after the Sawyer mess).
The penultimate scene in the greenhouse was a little to Hollywood-esque. Emily fights and is knocked out, but then when Reseda comes in, no one fights her, then Chip comes running in and Emily immediately wakes up and gets in his way? What? Coupled with the ridiculous statement: "Reseda, really. The child is losing blood fast and it's being wasted. Wasted! You're a New Englander, how can you abide that?" I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be funny (if so it was too over the top absurd) or just Anise's character being detached. Either way, the whole scene just didn't flow well in my opinion.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a quick, entertaining thriller of a book. Nothing special or particularly literary and no real mystery, but it was well enough written and kept my interest.