The Cellar by Natasha Preston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 2014
Nothing ever happens in the town of Long Thorpe – that is, until sixteen-year-old Summer Robinson disappears without a trace. No family or police investigation can track her down. Spending months inside the cellar of her kidnapper with several other girls, Summer learns of Colin’s abusive past, and his thoughts of his victims being his family…his perfect, pure flowers. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out….
When I read the blurb of this book, I was expecting a story about a girl who is kidnapped and then over time, she starts to develop feelings for her kidnapper; you know, Stockholm syndrome. Obviously, that’s not what I got.
Summer is going to a party when a strange man in a white van (cliché, or what??) forcefully takes her away to a cellar in his house, where he calls her Lily. There are other girls in the cellar, and all of them now bear names of different flowers.
It didn’t take long for me to come to the solid conclusion that Clover (the kidnapper) is insane. He kills prostitutes to feel high; he kidnaps girls off the streets, renames them, and makes them part of his “flower family”. And when one of his “flowers” defies him, he kills her.
The Cellar is a rare type of book for me in the sense that there are very few redeeming factors.
One thing that really bugs me about this story is the fact that when Summer is kidnapped, she barely thinks about her family. In fact, the majority of her thoughts focus on Lewis- her boyfriend- and the fact that her name is not Lily. I don’t know if it’s an oversight on the author’s part, or if Summer is just that type of character.
Another thing I don’t like about this story is Lewis. You see, The Cellar is written from three different perspectives, one of them being Lewis’. Lewis thinks like a girl. Maybe the author didn’t know how to portray his thoughts in a more masculine manner, and decided to just make his actions aggressive; but reading Lewis’ thoughts wasn’t a lot of fun.
I watch lots of crime/detective shows (NCIS: LA, Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds, Bones, etc.) and I have never seen a case where dozens of people have been killed or going missing, and no one notices. Because of that, I find it very hard to believe that Colin/Clover could kill lots of prostitutes and non-prostitutes without anyone noticing anything amiss until Summer.
Also, Clover has been kidnapping homeless girls for years. Why on earth did he decide to kidnap Summer, who has a family, a home, a boyfriend, and is popular at school? Why?
I do like the concept of this story, although I would have appreciated it more if it was a bit more thriller-ish. I’ll admit that into the first few pages of the story, I already had a sneer forming on my face; but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to put the book down.
It was interesting to see the story through the eyes of Summer, Lewis, and Clover; and I also like the fact that Summer isn’t one to give up easily. Other than that, the only thing I like about The Cellar is the cover.
The concept is nice, though, and maybe with a few adjustments I would have been able to put together a more glowing review.