Review: The Undoing – Averil Dean

the undoing averil dean cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: On a bitter January evening, three people are found murdered in the isolated Blackbird hotel.

Best friends since childhood, Eric, Rory and Celia have always been inseparable. Together they’ve coped with broken homes and damaged families, clinging to each other as they’ve navigated their tenuous lives. Their bond is potent and passionate—and its intensity can be volatile.

When the trio decides to follow Celia’s dream of buying and renovating the Blackbird, a dilapidated hotel that sits on the perilous cliffs of Jawbone Ridge, new jealousies arise and long-held suspicions start to unravel their relationship. Soon they find themselves pushed to the breaking point, where trust becomes doubt, longing becomes obsession, and someone will commit the ultimate betrayal.

An unflinching story of ambition, desire and envy, The Undoing traces the events leading to that fateful night, revealing the intimate connections, dark secrets and terrible lies that wove them together—and tore them apart.  – via Goodreads

GRADE 8.5Wow. I did not expect to love this one. The write up looked like something I would enjoy, but instead I got to read a book I got sucked into, whose pages reeled me in and held me hostage. I was captivated from the off, and fascinated throughout. The Undoing is a dark tale, a story with substance, with realistic characters who are flawed and broken and oh, so human. I think that the content of the book might make a lot of people uncomfortable, and I think that might affect the ratings, but I liked that Dean went for it and didn’t mess around. It was never really too out there – there was no blood ties, the sex was consensual, but you need to wrap your mind around that concept first. I think a lot of people will be stuck on the step-siblings bit.

The Undoing is a psychological story – don’t expect action, or crazy horror, or something like that. This book is about three friends, their ties, their history, their story, and it is worth every second of your time. The way the book is structured is great, too, where it starts at the end result, after the tragedies, and works its way back. This works wonders for the book because you get the story as it is, and you go back and see how the relationship between Rory, Eric, and Celia came to be, how it had changed over the years, how they all felt about each other. It is incredibly complex, and I felt for these people. They did not have a simple childhood, they were too close and too wound up with one another, I can see how their relationship would progress the way that it did.

The writing made the characters real for me. I ached for them, for their struggle, for how complicated things were for them, it was insane. Because they were all fleshed out so well and had depth, it was easy to get so involved. This is not to say that they were all likable, all the time, because goodness knows they had their moments, but that also made them more realistic people for me. How many people are truly perfect? I found that, at times, the sex would seem like too much, but then, each scene served a purpose.

The side characters, too, brought something to the story. So cold, so calculated. The novel is haunting, demanding your attention and lingering long after the fact. I was enthralled, the book really feels immensely personal. Initially they are just characters, dead people, and when you start uncovering their ties, you are a little confused because, well, Celia and Rory are step-siblings, and Eric is Rory’s best friend, yet Celia is sleeping with them both? So… first they were dead, then she was sleeping with them, then you find out they are all aware of each other and the sexual ties, and have some crazy connection? It starts confusing, no real attachment to anybody or investment in the outcome, how we got there, just a bit of what the hell thrown in, and then it grows into this immensely complex, crushing, beautiful, dark story. The three of them are so wrapped up in each other and their history together that they cocoon themselves away from the rest of the world – nobody else really gets in, and it isn’t healthy.

Small things stuck with me after – the significance of Eric’s tattoos, the friendship between Rory and Eric, how it changed, Celia’s disconnect from the world, her contentment to stay exactly where she was. I don’t want to say too much, but there are little things that are thrown in that resonate. The Undoing is a deeply moving novel – for me, at any rate. I can see that I will go back to read this time and time again because there is so much to it, so much intensity, so much beauty and confusion, obsession and longing, and it all comes together so wonderfully. It is sad, muddled and tangled, but worth every moment. I don’t know – this was totally my type of read: unconventional, twisted, not something that everyone will like, and not afraid to explore some taboo subjects.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Undoing – Averil Dean

    1. Yeah, the characters here are fleshed out slowly but surely, and I really liked that. While they might not always be likable, it makes them so much more realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I would highly recommend it. You could probably deal with all the WTFery going on in here xD

      Liked by 1 person

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