by Lindsay Ribar
Published: June 7th 2016
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Source: Audible (I got an ARC but ended up listening to it instead)
Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.
Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.
With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.
I guess I have to stop saying I don't read fantasy now. I keep trying to talk myself into saying this book is scifi but it isn't. I started googling what it is (magical realism? paranormal?) because it's definitely one of the more unique concepts I have read. You know what Rocks Fall Everyone Dies is? GOOD. Really freaking good.
If you don't know what the concept of "rocks fall, everyone dies" is, let me enlighten you:
"Rocks fall, everyone dies" is a method of ending a campaign commonly used by angry gamemaster who have gotten fed up with their players' bullshit. In this situation, the characters are arbitrarily killed by some unavoidable fate such as an avalanche or a cave-in (the eponymous rocks falling) and the GM declares this the end of the game.Thanks, 4chan. So, you can only imagine how a book with a title like that is going to end up. The game WILL end and everyone will lose something. Or everything.
Aspen and his family have the ability to reach inside people and take parts of them. There's one part necessity (to repair a cliff that is doomed to fall and crush its populace if not maintained) and one part "helpful" but potentially selfish (taking parts from people such as sadness after a death). We've all been in situations where we wish we could take away another's pain but would you? Don't our experiences and emotions shape who we are? Rocks Fall Everyone Dies explores this and does it in a way that never feels forced or like it's sending a message.
The story isn't just about Aspen and how he manages his gift but also unfolds the story of how his family was imbued with the power. As with any form of magic that is misused, it doesn't have the most innocent start. I found myself incredibly intrigued as the story went on, which was helped by the fast paced and targeted storytelling.
With fully developed characters, an engaging premise, good pacing and storytelling, Rocks Fall Everyone Dies is a must read for those who enjoy light fantasy (I SAID IT). Be sure to pick it up now...Or face the wrath of the gamemaster. Mwahhahahha.