Bachmann (The Peculiar) moves from middle-grade to YA with an uneven horror/suspense novel. Anouk, 17 and angry, jumps at the chance to join what might be the archeological expedition of the century: the exploration of a hitherto unknown underground palace in France. She and four other teens have been chosen for the expedition by the mysterious Sapani family, which owns the rights to the palace. Running parallel to this narrative is the story of Aurélie, daughter of the nobleman who created the palace as a refuge from the French Revolution. For Aurélie, the palace was a place of terror, and those terrors prove every bit as real for Anouk, more than two centuries later. Bachmann’s writing is as polished as in his earlier books—the violence is fittingly gruesome, the decadent and mazelike palace is gorgeously described, and Anouk has an engagingly snarky narrative voice. But the story itself can lose its way amid a lot of frantic running around pursued by half-seen monsters, all building to a fairly pulpy big reveal. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015 Release date: 03/01/2016 Genre: Children's
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