Review: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village

Buy Here: Amazon, Bookshop

Synopsis:

The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first? 

Review:

I received this as an ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

There are many books that I do not really like, and most of the time when I do not like a book, I usually just say it did not work for me and keep moving. There are so many great books out there that need reviewing that I don’t waste much time reviewing books I do not enjoy. Having said that, there is something about The Lost Village that really makes me angry enough to vocalize my frustrations. I will be spoiling some of this book, which is also something I never do, but I will be putting a warning before this section. 

I usually find the good in everything I read. In The Lost Village, I really was attracted to the story. Five people are going to a mining village where everyone disappeared sixty years earlier. The mystery of that set up with the horrors that are likely to come to the five new visitors is very appealing. I was very excited to read this. When I got into the story, the writing was clunky but okay. I do not know if it was the authors or the translator who made some of the prose kind of stiff and boring, but it was definitely noticeable that this is a translated work.  I was not terribly disappointed in most of the story, but there are elements of it that I have very strong feelings about. It is upsetting that this novel turned out the way it ends. I am one to suspend belief sometimes to make a plot work, but the turns that The Lost Village make are not things that I can overlook.

*Spoilers below*

There are some really dumb things that happen, like the main villian in the end is someone who has been living in the village since it has been empty. For sixty years. The village had lost its mining jobs long before everyone disappeared, so the likelihood that anyone found enough food in that time to sustain herself seems a little far fetched. 

It is also far-fetched that the five people who are supposed to be there to film a documentary does not film anything. They take pictures with cameras, not video recorders, that are rented for a short period of time. I do not know how cheap it is to rent equipment, but I do now it would probably be just as expensive to buy a few GoPro cameras and use their smartphones to record video footage. All of their phones end up with dead batteries, but I would think that if the entire project relied on electricity to film, there would be a small generator or something they could bring to charge up their phones. 


But these are not my biggest complaints. My biggest complaint is the treatment of Tone, one of the characters who sprains her ankle badly enough to need to take pain killers. To do this, she does not take her antipsychotic meds for a few days. So of course when she wanders off and bad stuff happens to the rest of the group, she is instantly demonized for being the mentally unstable woman off her medication. Not only is this a dangerous stereotype for people who have mental health issues, it is just plain untrue. Tone’s mental health is not so bad that she is going to turn into a raging killer after missing her pills for two days. I don’t think any psychiatric medicine is out of your system that quickly. What we have is characters who perpetuate stereotypes more than awareness, and for this alone The Lost Village is a damaging book.

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