Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Lost, by Sarah Beth Durst

Upset by her mother's worsening health, Lauren drives blindly out into the desert.  An unusual dust storm swallows her up and she ends up in a run-down town called Lost.  There, she finds a strange community of dangerous and desperate scavengers, criminals, and rabid animals.  But with the help of a beautiful god-like man and a resourceful little girl, she manages to stay alive.  Escaping from the place is another story however.  To do that, she is told, she must first figure out why she is lost in the first place.

An imaginative and creepy fantasy.  I didn't care so much for the ending, where in service to the continuation of the story as the first of a trilogy (why?), Durst veers far away from the compact world she so wonderfully has created.  Given how certainly the plot twists destroy the beauty of the novel's central conceit, I'll focus on the world of this one book alone.

The idea that when things are lost they end up in an isolated desert town is quite picturesque and the logic of the place is nicely played out here.  This original setting had a great mix of intrigue and danger to make things interesting without being too scary.  I also enjoyed the characters (who mostly play against type from the little girl who is so resourceful to the romantic lead who is notably blasé throughout to the heroine Lauren herself).  Technically, this isn't even a YA book, but it will appeal to teen readers (and folks who like the genre) just fine.

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