Tuesday, October 30, 2018

[Book Review] Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Book Review of Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman was an interesting tale of a terrifying condition, an evil scheme, violence along the trail, and love.

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, once I bought a copy, it sat there in my TBR pile... Slowly getting pushed further and further down the list.

I'm so happy that I was finally able to pick it up!

Let's dive in to my review!

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Sitting down to write my review, I just had the hardest time trying to organize my thoughts. I don't want to give away too much of the story, even though most of it is in the synopsis...

So I've decided to just touch upon a few key elements that I enjoyed and a few that I didn't like.

The storyline
The plot was definitely a bit nerve-wracking. After all, how terrifying is it just to think about having a condition that suddenly overcomes you and makes you look like you're dead?! And then of course when you find out that the main characters husband is up to no good, it makes everything so much worse.

And gosh, thinking about someone being buried alive is absolutely horrifying! I was so anxious to see how this would play out.

The characters
I found them all so interesting, even if they were a bit undeveloped! Take the main character, Carol, or example. We meet her very briefly before she falls into her coma-like state. Throughout the book, we get glimpses here and there that help us learn more about her childhood and her condition, but outside of that, we don't really learn all that much about her.

Same with the outlaw Moxie; we learn that he's a no-nonsense, lovesick outlaw that played a trick and got famous for it.

Even the main bad guy, Smoke, was a bit flat. Though I did find it super interesting that we saw him slowly lose his mind the closer he got to his end goal.

Then there were various other characters that popped in and out of the story. The chapters for each of these quick characters were fun to read, but I feel like I've already forgotten most of them.

The organization of the storyline
On on hand, I loved that we got right into the thick of things in the first few chapters, but on the other I wish that we had gotten more build up before all of the action.

I also really enjoyed that we were introduced to seemingly random characters here and there in various chapters that were centered on each character throughout the main storyline. It was interesting to see how each of the characters, no matter how small their role seemed, were part of this crazy web of deception.

The organization of the storyline also helped to build a bit of anxiety when it came to the burial. Would Dwight crack up and take an even more extreme step than he already has? Would John Moxie make it to town in time, or would he arrive too late? Would Sheriff Opal find evidence that helps prove his gut feeling? It was certainly exciting to wait to see how it all played out!

Beware, the negatives:
The pacing, I will admit, was a bit slow for my taste. There were a few chapters that I felt really bogged the story down.

I didn't really care for the ending. It seemed a bit rushed and a little too scattered. One element that came into play near the end was a gift from Hattie, which was really interesting. However, I felt that the situation caused by Rot made that reveal super underwhelming when it could have been really great.

On that note, things with Rot got a little odd. Again, because things seemed so rushed, I don't think we got enough information about this element and why it was affecting those it affected. Was it simply affecting those close to Carole because it wanted her so badly? That's what I would assume, but it's hard to say.

So clearly I was also left with some unanswered questions... quite a few of them, in fact. I'm usually okay with a few unanswered questions, but when that's paired with a rushed ending, I close the book with a bit of frustration.

My favorite passages:
Thoughts were always shinier, wider, more difficult to corral on the Trail.

Moxie has heard more than his share of Trail myths, yarns rolled down steep hillsides, unraveling until they shape-shifted from fiction to fact.

Memories more like nightmares and dreams like true visions, scattered, fallen from a shelf, out of order, or maybe proof that the order never mattered to begin with…

My final thoughts:
This book was so difficult for me to review!

This was definitely one of those books that was really enjoyable while reading, but after finishing it, I was left feeling a little odd. Like I had been hoping to get something more from it, but didn't... I hate that feeling!

I think this calls for a reread!

Thanks for reading!
Have you read this one yet? If so, I'd love to hear what you thought!


  1. I had such a struggle with this one. I must've picked it up and put it down a hundred times, finally putting it down forever. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it, for the most part :)

    1. Yeah... If it wasn't Josh Malerman, I probably would have bailed on it. But he's one of my faves so I was stubborn!

  2. This was a strange one. I don't think I really got into it until after the halfway point, but I loved the Western-y atmosphere!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. It sure was! I feel like it may have been better as a novella, or a longer novel. This in-between stage was a little odd to me.

  3. This one sounds intense so I’m sad to hear it gets slow sometimes.

    1. Yeah I'm bummed about that too. I was really under the impression that this was going to be much more intense from reading other reviews...

  4. Aw man! Bummer that this one didn't live up to his others. Undeveloped characters are no fun. :/

  5. Good review. I've been thinking about picking this up.

    1. I'd love to see what you think about this one!!