I was sitting at my dining table with the book in my hand and my eyes glued to the first page. The door that opens in the hallway was ajar -revealing dark steps and as I continued to read – I felt this rush of warm terror inexplicable but unmissable.
A GIRL IS FUCKING DEAD?!
And that’s how The Cry of The Lake begins. With a shock. And a promise of many more yet to shake you in the process.
The image of a dead girl danced around my eyes as if I was present right there in the room with her lying next to my feet – dead as a fucking nail – blued lips and a creepy stare. And add to it the gritty details and the unsympathetic attitude of Grace in the beginning? The very air that hung around me began to feel cold somehow.
Almost every turn of the page brought with it a rush of excitement and wonder – some character detail that left me gawping at the pages with wide set eyes, or some piece of the puzzle that hadn’t even crossed my mind.
Back to back surprises – so engrossing that I didn’t even move my neck for an hour straight – sticking my nose in my kindle as if reading it from as close as possible would reveal something!
I adored how Tyler throws in JUST THE RIGHT DESCRIPTIONS at JUST THE RIGHT TIME! Handling the timing to keep the reader engrossed is an art, one that the author has mastered!
The way that characters have been fleshed out is brilliant as well – giving them all an identity of their own – moving back and forth in three point of views – presenting a delicious contrast in nature, thinking, and priorities. Charlie Tyler’s extraordinary way with words painted really vivid and unique image of all the characters. You know what, it hurts me to call them mere characters. They are people in my heart now. Flesh and bone. That’s all they are composed of. Real people with heartbreaking stories – and I don’t think I will ever be able to get over them. I don’t think I even want to.
The stark and deliberate contrast that the author presents to snap you out and then pull you back in only increases the creepiness factor. The narration is so subtle in introducing bits of horror stricken and disturbed images in your mind that you end up shivering and anticipating the worst at even the most normal and unimportant events. You never really forget Amelie’s body gurgling down to rot at the lake bed and that stinky smell of a rotting body – a fragment of my imagination for sure – but it was present throughout the narrative, even when everyone was all happy and seemed carefree – the power of Charlie Tyler’s words.
I went out after finishing the first chapter – to get some water. It was around 11 pm and the hall was dark and I could feel someone’s dead set eyes on me, the manic eyes of a crazy woman – the very thought sent shivers down my spine! GUESS WHO SLEPT WITH A THIRSTY THROAT THAT NIGHT? ME! Because I JUST COULDN’T make the painfully short journey from my room to the kitchen. THAT was the effect of this book’s beginning events on me.
From the very first page it hooked it’s claws into me, sucking me in like a dementor – only it didn’t feed on my soul, it fed on my attention. All of it WHOLLY on this gorgeous, haunting, dark story.
The mystery surrounding the two girls keeps on twisting and turning it’s solid body around you – a snake from the depths of the characters’ pasts. Suffocating you. Keeping you captive in between it’s forceful embrace. And you end up liking it, enjoying it even!
You are the happiest prisoner ever! Stockholm syndrome much? HELL YEAH!
Secrets lay at the heart of Lily and Grace’s life – the anticipation of which had my insides in a knot. I don’t know why but I was terrified of knowing the truth, of reading on. I think a part of me just didn’t want this story to end. Very selfish too because Lily’s suffering was dependent on the ending but I just couldn’t handle. Yet my curiosity won over my reluctance every single time!
Lily was made fun of her silence. Even by her sister. Grace’s actions made me loathe her. So much that I just wanted to enter the alternate realm and stab her in the heart – just so she could fucking stop tormenting her sister. I was so engrossed in their lives that I felt like one of them! Lily’s grief, the fact that she was in the cruel clutches of a life that suffocated her – her sadness – desperation – confusion – anger – hopelessness – the author captured it ALL. So broken was this teenager that I just wanted to rip apart the pages and enter her world and soothe her and tell her that everything was going to be OKAY! 😦
In all honesty, I hated Grace from the very beginning. Everything about her irritated me. But man, I didn’t have the SLIGHTEST inkling that my view of her would change so drastically. That, in my eyes at least, she’ll be redeemed by the end. It’d be cruel to let you in on any more details but just know that you won’t come out of this story unchanged. You WILL leave a part of yourself in there – between the pages – wrapped up tightly. But keep it away from Emily. She’ll break it.
But WAIT! WHO IS EMILY?! You’ll find out soon enough.
I sit here – with my eyes just a bit teary, my heart just a bit sad, my kind just a bit relaxed – it’s been a journey. I have been Emily – her rage; I have been Lily – her trauma; I have been Flo – her confusion; I have been Frank – his wickedness; and I have been Gil – with all his loveliness.
I have been them all. And let me tell you, even though learning about their lives destroyed me, I wouldn’t trade one bit of that wonderfully thrilling experience with anything else. Nothing else.
I had already started reading another book the next day – trying to escape the tide of emotions reading The Cry of The River had set in my gut – but I just couldn’t shake the gloomy feeling of separating myself from these dear dear people.
Yes. I even missed Grace and her erratic and manic ways. It’s amazing how Tyler has forced me to be sensitive and understanding of a girl who has committed cold blooded murder before. You won’t believe the things she has done and yet, she is redeemed. Why though? I couldn’t tell you, despite knowing the contents of her past, I just couldn’t tell you why my heart wants to forgive her so badly.
And Lily? I don’t wanna part from her. Her confusion, her nightmares, her dilemmas, her hallucinations – I have become addicted to them.
I don’t want to let go. I want to hold on.
And I want Gil back. I want to hear him say “My lady of the lake, forgive me” one last time. I want to see his golden hair shimmering in the moon light and for once, just once, I want him to hold Em, the way she wanted to be held.
I think I will be forever be haunted Emily sitting at the edge of the lake, with all the painful memories gnawing at her heart – wasting away what little sanity she has left- forever waiting for someone who would never arrive – her beloved, the mermaid of the lake.