As a big fan of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, I was a little sceptical when I finally picked up this book. The original was brilliant and creepy and just wonderful. How could this book compete? Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself not only enjoying Ten, but curled up on the couch, shouting at people to leave me alone so I could finish reading it the same night I started it. I sat down to read this book, and found that I could not go on with my life until I knew exactly what happened.
Ten is without a doubt a thrilling read. It had me on the edge of my seat and a couple times I was so startled by a turn of events I actually jumped in surprise/fear. Gretchen McNeil has amazing pacing. The mystery slowly unravels before you, page by page, but it's also filled to the brim with tension so that is never gets boring. You won't be able to help yourself, you will have to need to keep turning those pages.
There was also an interesting variety of characters. As you may have determined from the title there are ten characters that feature prominently in the novel. They were a little hard to keep track of in the beginning, but eventually you do get to know them all individually. The trouble with such a large cast is that some of them just aren't as developed as others. This isn't really a problem, since some of them are definitely going to die, but it does mean you won't being particularly heart broken when they do - just freaked out.
Speaking of the deaths... Ten was a lot more gruesome then I expected. I knew people were going to die. It says so right on the back cover, but I didn't expect so many varieties of deaths and so much detail. Major points for Gretchen McNeil here, because she didn't shy away from the more unpleasant parts of this story just because she was writing a YA novel. Teens don't live under a rock, and they are not oblivious to violence so I'm glad she didn't try to sugar coat the details for a younger audience.
And to top it all off Ten has an ending I hadn't predicted. I - like many people - am always trying to figure out what the big twist will be. I started guessing right from the first few pages. And even though I had a number of different predictions throughout my reading of the novel, not once did I guess correctly. I truly love being surprised, especially when I thought back and realized all the little clues she had dropped along the way!
Final recommendation: Highly recommended for mystery lovers and those looking for a good book around Halloween time.
This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com)