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  • Mandy McHugh

The Lost Village, Camilla Sten: A Review

With Blair Witch and Midsommar as the comp titles and a striking cover, I slammed the request button for The Lost Village. I am a sucker for found footage/documentary type thrillers, admittedly, so I couldn't wait to dive in.

In need of funding for her first major documentary, Alice enlists a group of friends and professionals to travel to Silvertjarn, a remote Swedish community that was abandoned in the 1950s. Nobody knows what happened to the 900 villagers, but Alice is determined to not only shed light on this mysterious place, but also solve the mystery once and for all. But things don't go as planned from the beginning, and Alice begins to question whether they're really alone. I loved this book. Sten nailed the chaotic, creepy, isolation that was pivotal to make this book successful. Her descriptions are vivid and crisp and haunting. I devoured this book in one sitting. Alice, as a narrator, is unreliable in so much as we can't trust her motivations beyond wanting her documentary to work. I never got the feeling she was keeping extraneous secrets, but I understood there was more at play to be released over the course of the five day trip. The discord among the group was also stellar. While some conflict worked better than others for me, I was particularly drawn to the dynamic between Tone and everyone else. Sten isn't just going for the horrific in a visceral sense. She highlights serious issues within the trauma: depression, mental illness, suicide, and othering. Birgitta's story is heartbreaking and nuanced and drew important parallels between the way society views mental illness and those who suffer from it and the decades-old treatment of a woman who was "disturbed." And if you're here for a scary read and don't give a hoot about underlying themes, rest assured: this book is full of disturbing moments, and Sten does a wonderful job making the scenes jump off the page. I could definitely see this being made into a Netflix series, and I would 100 percent watch every minute of it. Overall, The Lost Village is a creepy, exciting un-put-downable read perfect for fans of classic horror, haunted ruins, and real-life monsters. Out in March, this will be a must read in 2021. Big thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

 

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