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Slender Man Paperback – 16 May 2019
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From the Inside Flap
Lauren Bailey has disappeared. As friends at her exclusive school speculate and the police search for answers, Matt Barker dreams of trees and a black sky and something drawing closer. Through fragments of journals, articles and online conversations, a figure begins to emerge – a tall, slender figure – and all divisions between fiction and delusion, between nightmare and reality, begin to fall.
From the Back Cover
Lauren Bailey has disappeared. As friends at her exclusive school speculate and the police search for answers, Matt Barker dreams of trees and a black sky and something drawing closer. Through fragments of journals, articles and online conversations, a figure begins to emerge – a tall, slender figure – and all divisions between fiction and delusion, between nightmare and reality, begin to fall.See all Product description
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The book is an interesting experiment - a horror story told through modern media that is fully self aware. It is rooted in our world where the Slender Man Creepypasta is a thing and so, naturally, the protagonist soon finds that no one will believe that he has actually encountered the entity. Personally, this really did appeal to me. This concept alone was very entertaining and I certainly did not get bored reading it.
Yet the one thing that I felt the novel was lacking was the extended media. There are things that an online Creepypasta can do that this book cannot - especially as the novel made a lot of reference to sound files that we could never hear and photographs that we could not see. I was disappointed that even dropbox links provided within the pages did not work - possibly an oversight by the Anonymous author.
However, while the book makes for a decent Creepypasta, it's not a great novel. We see nothing in the story, with events only related back to the reader after the event and Slender Man used unsurprisingly infrequently. It takes over half of the novel for it to really feel as though the story is moving and much longer for anything significant to happen to the protagonist. The book is also very open ended, leaving the protagonist's fate unclear and failing to explain half of what happened.
I also found it difficult to connect with most of the characters. While Matt is at least likeable, we find out little about him despite being allowed inside his head. Yet, due to the way in which this story is structured, we find out even less about the other characters. The biggest disappointment of the story is how insignificant Lauren is in the great scheme of things. Matt barely communicates with her over the course of the novel and her disappearance holds the distinct aroma of the women in refrigerators trope - offering no development for her but only serving as a vessel to give motivation to Matt's actions.
As Matt is a rather self-centred protagonists, a lot of the other characters in the novel do not make much of an impression and I found myself flipping back and forward to remind myself who was who. Yet, at least, Slender Man was well presented. We find out nothing about him other than he exists. He is unknowable - the extent of his power is seemingly limitless and his motives are beyond our comprehension. Anything else would have been deeply unsatisfying.
Anyhow, Slender Man is a curious novel that may entertain fans of Creepypastas, but not really substantial or creepy enough to satisfy horror fans. I didn't hate it, but it's also unlikely to be a novel that I will read again.
The style of this book made it a very quick and engaging read, because the story is told through a variety of narrative devices, including journal entries, text messages, audio transcripts and newspaper reports – not your usual, straightforward narration. The unorthodox style was refreshing and made the book very easy to read.
My other favourite aspect of this book is the anonymous nature. Thanks to the style and the lack of author (and what actually happens in the plot) the story becomes very real and very possible in real life. Especially because it does take into account the fact that Slender Man was an online phenomenon, known to be invented and developed through fan sites and photoshop. The fakeness of Slender Man is commented on and pushed aside by the events that unfold in this story.
I haven’t read a horror this good in a very long time.
The novel is made up of a series of diary extracts, interview transcripts, recordings, therapy sessions and texts.
Which personally I really enjoyed and I think will have a great appeal to readers of YA novels. However, I am aware it is very much unique and may discourage some readers.
The disappearance not only the missing Lauren but the many people involved with the case. Detective Mia Ramirez from the NYPD leading the case. Lauren’s ex-boyfriend Steven Allison, whom enjoys the new found fame. Also Lauren’s parents of which there is numerous malicious rumours and speculation.
Matthew believes that via his use of technology and Lauren herself, he can stay one step ahead of the police and bring Lauren home.
And then the nightmares and strange occurrences begin…
Slender Man kept me gripped and held my intrigue throughout. But it failed to truly ‘scare’ me and for that reason, it may suit those who prefer a tamer horror read! 4*