My rating: 3 of 5 stars (rounded down from a 3.5)
I really enjoyed the overall plot of The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones. However, there were a few things about the book that I didn’t enjoy, and that’s why I’m only giving it 3 stars.
The novel is written more like a screenplay, which took me out of my immersion many times while I was reading. I was confused several times by the mention of camera angles, panning, etc. I think if it was literally written like a screenplay it would have been easier to read. But it’s written like someone attempting to write a screenplay but not exactly knowing what format they should be using.
The scenes jump around a lot, which is easier to parse in an actual visual movie, but how it was written on the page just didn’t work for me most of the time. I read this as a kindle eBook, and I wonder if I would have had an easier time with the prose if I had listened to the audiobook version.
Another thing that pulled me out of the action was that Jones really likes to repeat things right after one another. For example, here’s a quote from some dialogue: “I saw the, the news.” This happens a lot throughout the book and I guess it’s supposed to infer that the people are stuttering or stammering but it felt unnecessary to include it in the prose.
Another weird prose quirk in the book involves how certain words are spelled. Jones uses hyphens a lot in between different syllables of compound words. I think sometimes he does it to indicate someone paused their speaking in the middle of a word, but he didn’t only do this while the characters were speaking. For example, the word “because” is styled as “be-cause.”
If you’re a fan of slasher movies in general or movies like Cabin in the Woods that take a new spin on the genre, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If you’re able to deal with the book’s unconventional format, that is.
I’ll definitely be checking out other books by the author, in hopes they are easier for me to read and stay immersed than this one. I hear that My Heart is a Chainsaw has similar themes but better execution, so that’ll likely be the next one I read from Jones.
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The Blades and Bodice Rippers Book Club on YouTube had a stream discussing this book. You can check it out here if you’re interested.