First you see the shuddering of the trees. Is it an elk rubbing it’s antlers against the trunk, you wonder. No, it’s death, and it’s coming for you.
Five friends journey to the snow packed mountains of Colorado for one last long weekend of snowboarding and fun before they go their separate ways. There’s twins, Ryan and Jane. Scarred by the infidelity of their rich father, Ryan has managed to make a successful business out of doing what he loves and is about to move to Europe. Shunning her family’s money, school teacher Jane is in the throes of a bitter divorce. Accompanying her is her best friend, Lauren, who has discovered too late that Ryan is a catch. Rounding out the group is Sawyer, Ryan and Jane’s childhood best friend, the one that got away for Jane. With him comes his girlfriend, April.
The book starts with a bang, introducing the hungry monsters and interspersing their kills with the shenanigans of Ryan and his friends. If you’ve seen any horror movies, you know all the beats in this book, but it’s enjoyable all the same once the blood hits the fan. Ryan and his posse make all the classic horror movie mistakes, and Ahlborn is self aware to this fact, making references to it with a sly nudge and wink to the reader.
If you’ve seen Cabin in the Woods, you will have been made aware of these tropes, and The Fool, The Whore, The Jock, The Scholar and The Virgin are all present in Ryan and his friends, which only adds to the fun as you wait in gleeful anticipation for their longed for demise.
There is also a nice nod to Dracula that I’m ashamed to say took me altogether too long to spot, despite it being well telegraphed. That fact almost pushed the rating up for me; however, I didn’t find any new ground being covered here, and despite some serious character development of the group, I was counting the pages until they died.
I would have liked if the subtext about man’s arrogance against the forces of nature had been elaborated on, but even still, The Shuddering is a fun read and I recommend it.
I award The Shuddering…
The Shuddering is available for $4.53 ebook and $14.95 print book on Amazon.