Final Girls, by Mira Grant
Description: (from Subterranean Press )
What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?
Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they’ve been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?
Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father’s life. She’s determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb’s budding company. Dr. Webb’s willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther’s not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other’s only hope of survival.
Expected publication: April 2017
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.
Oops I should have posted this weeks ago. March and April have been really busy month, all my apologies to the author and the publisher!
So what did I thought about this novella? Well I was not disappointed! Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire continues to be an author I know I can trust. I know I can pick anything she writes and be entertained. I still have a lot to read from her and while I wish I was a long-time fan, I’m still happy that I discovered her.
With Final Girls, it’s actually the first time I’m reading something written under her Mira Grant name! It makes me excited to pick more of her work. I’m not usually a horror fan, not anymore at least because it doesn’t mix well with being an anxious person, but I loved this one.
Final Girls was chilling and terrifying (but not as much as I thought it would be, looking at the cover) and it made me definitely scared (but also fascinated) about this whole VR technology!
From the other reviews I saw, it seems this mix of science and awful things that could happen because of it is not a new theme for Mira Grant. I can’t say how original it is compared to her other stories since I haven’t read them yet, but it totally worked for me like something that could totally come to happen someday. I hope not, but you know how the world is!
“Someone was always going to develop fully immersive VR, whether for therapeutic purposes or because they really, really wanted to enjoy their favourite video games. Honestly, I was betting on porn driving this particular scientific advancement. No one is more surprise than me that my little research center was able to beat them to the post.”
The main characters of this novella are women: Esther, a thirty-four science reporter and debunker who wants to investigate and make sure nobody is going to be harmed by this new technology; Jennifer Webb, the scientist behind the Webb Virtual Therapy Institute, desperate to prove the usefulness of her creation; and another woman, deadlier than the first two, that we meet later on the novella.
I really liked Esther as a main character, she’s someone with a lot of baggage and traumas, but dead set on doing what’s right. She doesn’t back away from calling the so-called “scenarios” that Dr.Webb put into places to manipulate (actually under their full consent) patients as lies. And while she doesn’t trust the whole process at all, she doesn’t hesitate when it’s her turn to test the machine.
“If she couldn’t save her father, she was going to save everyone else. It was redemption. It was obsession. It was everything she had.”
All the characters were perfectly fleshed out, with their motives and desires, determined on what they want to do and achieve. They are ready to do anything for what they believe in. That makes for really intense characters to follow.
I often thought about what surviving the things I see in horror movies would change me or affect me, and this story is great at showing how what we live through can define who we are or who we become. Especially, it seems, when it all happens at a young age.
“That green one is mine.” It takes Esther a moment to realize that Jennifer is talking about a house on the other side of the cemetery, and not and especially mossy tombstone.
While not a novel length story, Final Girls didn’t lacked from anything. I never felt like things were moving too fast or that I was missing something. There were even way more things happening than you would expect from a novella if you’re not used to the format.
Would I recommend this novella? Well yes, I had a great time. But seeing how expensive it is… it’s worth it if you’re a BIG fan of the author, not that much if you’re just stumbling upon it. Would it have been a “normal” price I would have say “Jump on it! It’s short, chilling and with great characters!” but for 30 to 40 $/€? I wouldn’t 😦
The hardcover is a limited edition with 1250 signed and numbered hardcover copies, I sure hope there will be an ebook version (that is not out of stock…) for more people to be able to read this story!
So if you find this story at a reasonable price, or if you have no difficulty paying up to 40$/€ for a novella, go for it! 🙂
TW: bullying, violence, death
Which Mira Grant novel should I start with, in your opinion?