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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arresting, disturbing and utterly compelling
"Mass hysterical outbreaks rarely have identifiable inceptions, but the date I recall most vividly is Sunday 16th September, when a young child in butterfly pyjamas slaughtered her grandmother with a nail-gun to the neck."

From this visceral and arresting opening, we know we are in safe hands with this book: Jensen has written a narrative which is by turn...
Published on 21 Dec. 2012 by Roman Clodia

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rapture Revisited
One of the impressive things about Liz Jensen's books is that they are all so different, so this 'The Rapture' retread - although a good read - comes as a bit of a disappointment. It could almost me an early draft of that previous novel. The theme of a slowly emerging outbreak of malevolent global collective unconscious is a compelling one, but we have been there before.
Published on 13 Sept. 2012 by tim


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arresting, disturbing and utterly compelling, 21 Dec. 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
"Mass hysterical outbreaks rarely have identifiable inceptions, but the date I recall most vividly is Sunday 16th September, when a young child in butterfly pyjamas slaughtered her grandmother with a nail-gun to the neck."

From this visceral and arresting opening, we know we are in safe hands with this book: Jensen has written a narrative which is by turn spooky, terrifying, disturbing and unexpected. Every word feels measured and assured; the plot grips, twists and turns with no longuers or missed beats; and the characterisations and voices feel immaculate. So this is a very well crafted novel - but it's also an extremely gripping one.

I don't want to say too much about the plot which would spoil this for other readers but Jensen does an excellent job of mixing up elements from a range of genres - crime, horror, sci-fi, domestic drama - to create something which is uniquely itself.

So this is very intelligent writing combined with a genuinely compelling plot - I finished this at a single sitting and was up till the small hours because I *had* to know what happened next. This is the first book of Jensen's that I've read but, on the back of this, I'll certainly be seeking out her back catalogue - highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rapture Revisited, 13 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
One of the impressive things about Liz Jensen's books is that they are all so different, so this 'The Rapture' retread - although a good read - comes as a bit of a disappointment. It could almost me an early draft of that previous novel. The theme of a slowly emerging outbreak of malevolent global collective unconscious is a compelling one, but we have been there before.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grips from the beginning, 13 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
A really excellent read that kept me gripped throughout. The premise is a really interesting and very timely one regarding the way we treat our world. The idea of children becoming revenge-seeking automatons is a disturbing one and was really well played out in the book. The reader finds themselves gripped from the start as we read about a young girl in leafy Harrogate, ready for bed in her pretty butterfly pajamas who kills her grandmother with a nail-gun to the neck. It's a brutal beginning and certainly one that makes the reader want to read on.

I particularly enjoyed the narration by Hesketh a man navigating his way through life with a brilliant academic mind and a deep misunderstanding of human relationships thanks to his Asperger's.

"We are all liars bud. It's human nature'. No, I thought. He's wrong. Through a quirk of DNA, I am not part of that 'we'. I can get obsessive about things. Or sidetracked. I can appear brutal too, I'm told. But I know right from wrong. And I revere the truth. So you will at least find in me an honest narrator'.

And we do. He is a brilliant choice for a narrator in that he is set slightly apart from the other characters who get swallowed by hysteria and anger at what is happening around them. In Hesketh we get a narrator who, whilst taking part in the action can also stand back and tell it like it is. His complicated relationship as an ex-almost-stepfather to Freddy filled the emotional gap and made Hesketh a totally realised character. His attempts to connect with people by making them gifts of complex origami was also very touching.

Overall I enjoyed this much more than The Rapture as I felt the characters were more developed and the premise was well played out. Not much cheer in this dystopian nightmare, but a great read, recommended for those looking for a psychological thriller with teeth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The unexpected, 1 July 2014
By 
Marie (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
Hesketh Lock is a unique figure in the world of anthropology; his Asperger's syndrome allows him to objectively analyse patterns in human behaviour that others overlook. He is never short of work as big businesses take advantage of his talents to assess their employees' habits in order to maximise their profits. While investigating an unusual case of whistleblowing and sabotage in a factory in Taiwan, Hesketh becomes aware of bizarre news reports from home. What starts as an isolated incident of parricide becomes a global epidemic as young children all over the world turn inexplicably against their loved ones. As his own stepson Freddy begins to exhibit increasingly sinister behaviour, Hesketh must use all his expertise to try to get to the bottom of this most disturbing phenomenon.

Liz Jensen has impressed me before with The Ninth Life Of Louis Drax and The Rapture. Here, Jensen revisits the dystopian, apocalyptic themes of The Rapture, but handles them in a far more understated manner. If you're looking for a straightforward horror novel with creepy zombie children and gratuitous gore you won't find it here. Instead, we explore how a community might react under pressure to a truly inexplicable and sinister global threat.

Hesketh is a strong lead character and it is easy to empathise with him. I liked that he is a well-developed character in his own right rather than simply a one-dimensional caricature of Asperger's syndrome as I have sometimes found in other novels - neither overbearingly 'quirky' nor an emotionless robot. Instead, we see how his Asperger's affects him in more subtle ways and how his analytical habits lead him to see situations slightly differently from the majority, which really added to my enjoyment of the book.

I was pleased to find that Jensen doesn't tie all the plot strings up in one neat and tidy bow. The premise is so far-fetched and outrageous that to have a flawless conclusion would have been far too convenient and implausible, in my opinion. However, it is worth bearing in mind if you're considering picking this one up, as I know many readers aren't satisfied with an ambiguous ending.

This really is a disaster novel with a difference. An unusual and thoughtful little book that I enjoyed very much.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Thrilling - must be read!, 6 July 2012
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
Liz Jensen's latest offering, The Uninvited, is part thriller, part social commentary, with a bit of science and religion thrown in. I'm not normally in to science-y things but having been a fan of her previous works I decided to give it a go - and I am so glad that I did! I suspect Jensen has yet another hit on her hands. This is a more serious novel, in the vein of her last book, the Rapture, but it still has her natural sprinkling of comedy, particularly in the characterisation of Hesketh, who is the novel's brilliantly drawn protagonist, and it's through his eyes that we witness sinister and evil goings-on. All around the world, adults are suddenly and randomly committing acts of mass sabotage whilst children are engaging in shocking acts of violence, ultimately leading to the questioning and breakdown of everything as we know it. Even though the story was a bit scary (for me) in places, I was unable to put the book down and had to keep on going till the end. What's even scarier than the story is the very real notion that this new world Jensen describes as evolving might actually be on the cards for us in the future. The science managed to be both challenging yet easy to digest, with has echoes of Margaret Atwood for me. Jensen's characters are totally believable and get right under your skin, particularly Hesketh and his step-son Freddy.

I absolutely loved The Uninvited, and therefore I urge you to read it! I can't wait to read it again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars There were a number of things I really liked about this book, 21 July 2014
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This review is from: The Uninvited (Kindle Edition)
There were a number of things I really liked about this book. First of all was the depth of the lead character who had Asperger's syndrome. The author had a very good insight of this condition and used this as part of her narrative, in fact it was central to the character and his setting.
The suspense and build up was also excellent - at the start we are given just enough hints of something bigger and these build through the story, making you want to read on and learn about the bigger picture.
In common with other reviewers, the ending isn't what I would have hoped for and for that reason I gave four stars rather than five. I felt like the ending was a little bit of a cop-out but then that's because I like clean, happy and resolved endings and not open ended or fuzzy ones like this.
I would still recommend this book to others - I enjoyed reading it and finished it in a relatively short amount of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 14 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
It's well written, and held my attention until I'd finished it. In two sittings.... I thought I knew where it was going, and I wasn't really surprised, but I enjoyed getting there. You know that 'oof' feeling you get sometimes, though, when you really think about what's just happened? I got that. This tale made me reexamine my place and purpose and my assumption that someone else will sort it out. Ms Jensen drops in those little, casual asides about the planet, population, crises and future, but never rams them down your throat. Never hectors you, just whispers in your ear at two in the morning. I am reminded of Sheri S. Tepper's work, but on a much more subtle, quiet note.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and will read it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bought at lunchtime; finished by 5.00pm, 24 April 2014
By 
Mrs. E. A. Molloy (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
I literally could not put this book down. The writing is so compelling and well-crafted. The lead character is well thought-out and sympathetic. He put me very much in mind of 'The Tale of the Dog in the Night-time' as he has Asperger's Syndrome and sees the world in a slightly detatched, but very detailed way.
Gripping, moving and ultimately informative and certainly makes you think about just what we are doing as humanity in its entirety.
Cannot wait to read her other stuff. Brilliant!
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3.0 out of 5 stars so confused??, 29 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Uninvited (Kindle Edition)
I have given it a 3 although 2.5 would be more appropriate as not sure if I liked it or not. Never read a book I am so I sure of. I liked the main character as his awkwardness with people and social situations. Confused by the meaning of the story and specifically the ending. Kept me reading through my uncertainty, so I will leave it to personal choice. Either a love it, hate it or an in between but definitely worth a try just for the bizarreness of it. lol.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, horrifying and fascinating, 17 Sept. 2012
By 
Marleen (Cavan, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Uninvited (Paperback)
It starts with one child, a young girl, taking a nail gun and killing her grandmother before injuring her father for no apparent reason. It seems to be a random occurrence, a one-off event, tragic and shocking but unique. Hesketh Lock hears about this murder while on his way to the airport. He is travelling from England to Taiwan to investigate a bizarre corporate scandal.
Hesketh Lock has Asperger's Syndrome and isn't good at relationships or reading people. He is however very good at spotting and reading behaviour patterns which explains his job as trouble shooter for a company specialising in investigating corporate fraud, exposing it and eliminating it forever. However, his investigation in Taiwan doesn't provide him with any useful or logical answers. If anything, his meeting with the man who exposed the scandal leaves Hesketh with more questions than answers. When his Taiwanese contact subsequently commits suicide the case becomes even murkier. Then things quickly escalate. More bizarre cases of corporate fraud are exposed, all apparently conducted by the most unlikely suspects who tend to be confused after their fraudulent acts and end up dying shortly afterwards. And at the same time more children, all over the world, are attacking and killing adults. With no apparent reasons for these murders and the children going through a dramatic change immediately before and after the violence, authorities are at a loss to explain what is happening. But the violence is spreading and panic, as well as all sorts of (conspiracy) theories are becoming rampant. When Hesketh establishes a link between the disruptions in the corporate world and the crimes committed by the children it appears to be an impossible proposition. With his stepson starting to exhibit troubling behaviour, Hesketh finds himself in a situation that could as easily overwhelm him as bring him to the realisation of what exactly is happening.

This story is shocking on several levels. First there is all the violence committed by children. It is never easy to read about children as the perpetrators of violent crime and since that is the central story-line in this book it is hard not to get emotionally involved. What makes the story even more disturbing is that it is written in such a way that you end up feeling that something like this could actually happen. Yes, it is a fantastical story line, but one based on enough fact to make it just about plausible. While reading this book I felt my heart breaking on several occasions; how could a parent, family, the world ever hope to deal with children turning against the adults in their lives? And would we really react in the way as described in this book?

In Hesketh Lock the author has created a fascinating protagonist. Because of his Asperger's he is logical to a fault. This makes him the perfect narrator for this story in which the events taking place are so horrific that non-sentimental descriptions are necessary if the reader is going to stick with the story. Hesketh has a linear way of thinking which is brutally honest and at times heartbreaking. He is very aware of his shortcomings and completely unable to do anything about them. That is not to say he should be pitied; Hesketh is very secure in the knowledge that there are certain things he can do better than most people because his special make-up means he's better equipped to do them. He is, for example very quick to observe patterns where others see none.

"Perhaps she pities me. It's a frequent mistake. People misunderstand who I am, and assume I want to be like them. I don't."

Hesketh's former partner and the mother of his stepson used to call him "A robot made of meat." And although he doesn't think he is such a robot there comes a time when Hesketh thinks that being just that might be what he needs.

This book is very well written and almost too easy to read. A story like this should be read slowly, but Liz Jensen's writing is so fluid that I found myself turning the pages at a quick pace regardless of the horrors that were taking place on them. And maybe that is exactly what is needed with a story as shocking as this one. I think I might have put the book aside if I had allowed myself too much time to linger on exactly what was happening. That would have been such a waste though. Combining several genres - mystery, psychological thriller, and dystopian-apocalyptical nightmare - this is a highly original, thought-provoking, very well written and intriguing story.
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The Uninvited by Liz Jensen
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