Review: Escape Room by Megan Goldin

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Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—”now gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game. 
They’re fighting for their lives.

Escape Room is about how greed corrupts souls, the lengths people will go to one up their competitors and ultimately the consequences of forgoing one’s own conscience.
Four employees from a high-flying Wall Street investment bank are invited to participate in an escape room as a teambuilding exercise. However, as the game gets underway, the players soon realise that the game is more personal than your standard escape room, and the past has come back to haunt them.

Erm, well, this was peculiar. I was quite into this, until the book neared its end. By then I was extremely frustrated and blinking dumbfoundedly at how off-road and crazy the plot went from how consistent it had been.

The story unfolds through two narrations; from the perspective of Sara Hall prior to the escape room, and then the current events of the employees trapped in the elevator-styled escape room.  This way of storytelling was both enjoyable and confusing – it was enjoyable because it was a slow burn of mounting curiosity, but also confusing as it wasn’t clear what was going on or what the mystery plot was aiming to reveal (which was the case until at least 62%).

I’m quite a stickler for repetition, which Escape Room is certainly guilty of. I literally winced when I read about how hot the elevator was, the need for the cold draft of air, and how Vincent was losing control of the group, for the sixth time. Plus, when chapters focused on the people in escape room, some of said chapters were really bland by going on and on about the characters’ life (which didn’t even relate to the main plot).  These chapters felt like a way to stretch out the length of the book.

Ultimately, the characters make and break this story.
Sara and Lucy were likeable, and I was distressed when they were upset and in turmoil. The rest of the characters were the type that play a part in the story; they were boring to read about at length, but of course, they’re relevant to the main plot.

The hardest part of this was digesting how Sara’s character was likeable and human, and then changed. Sara was down to earth, but ultimately became naive, dim and thoughtless at 60%. It was incredibly frustrating to see where this was going, and ultimately what it led to. I felt the character was made to be suddenly stupid to fit pulling off a plot turn, rather than Sara being an actual idiot – which was later proved “correct” with that barmy ending.
It was so infuriating I’d of DNF ‘d this if I weren’t so close to the end at 80%ish – I owed it to myself, and to this review, to be completely thorough in my concluding thoughts.

The climax and conclusion were fun and totally farfetched. There’s nothing about the twist, the ending and so on, that’s well-reasoned or believable.  But if anything, I will say it was slightly entertaining for who knows what reason.

Escape Room is one of those quick reads with a nuts story that undoubtedly frustrates readers, but ultimately is either appreciated for its entertainment value or criticised for its lack of credulity. I’m somewhere in between but I’d probably pick the latter if I’m pressed. But to be fair to a debut author, I’ll round up my rating to 3 stars, but I was tempted to rate this lower.  Read this if you love a fast and whacky fanciful ride, but if you are put off by plots that are not well plotted and have a tendency to be unrealistic, then I don’t think this is for you or for me.

 

Buy It Now

Escape Room by Megan Goldin
Genre: mystery/thriller
Publication: July 2019

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*Thank you kindly to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an e-copy of this book, in exchange for this honest review.


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