Title: The Cellar
Author: Natasha Preston
Series: The Cellar, #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 1st 2014
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review**
Natasha Preston’s The Cellar is a psychological thriller that is both disturbing and hard to put down. When Summer is kidnapped, she is forced into a utterly terrifying situation. Though not alone, Summer is coerced into playing the part of “Lily,” one member of her kidnapper’s imaginary family. Unable to escape, Summer is trapped in her kidnapper’s cellar with three other captive women. She quickly learns that Clover is not a man that should be trifled with. His growing unpredictability and willingness to silence anyone who speaks against him has crushed any hope any of these women have for getting out. In order to survive, Summer must play by his rules, but days are passing quickly and with them, the chances that the police will find her at all.
What makes this novel truly horrifying is how realistic it actually is. Summer doesn’t take any dangerous chances, but one evening she crosses paths with a deranged individual who sees an opportunity to take her when no one else is around. Confused and completely overpowered, Summer can do nothing but obey Clover’s every command if she wants to survive. Desperate for escape, she looks to her fellow captives for help, but it quickly becomes clear that they are too scared to try anything drastic. Rose, who has been kept in Clover’s cellar for years, seems to have accepted this new reality and in many ways seems content. Poppy is less so, but follows Roses’s lead. The only one that is just as desperate as Summer to escape is Violet, but Clover makes it very clear that he will not tolerate any kind of rebellion.
The Cellar was very effective when it came to its multiple points of view. The large majority of the novel focuses on Summer and her experience inside the cellar, how she learns to adapt to this new world, and her growing need to escape. We also get Lewis’s point of view, Summer’s boyfriend, and how he tries to cope with her disappearance. His perspective gives readers a look at Summer’s family and the police investigation surrounding his girlfriend’s disappearance. Though unnerving and sometimes difficult to fully understand, we get a glimpse of who Clover is and the twisted logic that motivated him to kidnap these women. Unable to discriminate between right and wrong, Clover, whose real name is Colin, has taken it upon himself to rid the world of evil and protect the makeshift family he has put together at whatever cost.
The Cellar is more horrifying with every page turned as Clover grows even more violent and the reader, along with Summer and Lewis grow more desperate for these women to be found before it’s too late.