The first book I ever read by Natasha Preston was The Cellar. After I read The Cellar, I read The Cabin, and I really liked that one, too. While I didn’t love it as much as I loved The Cellar, it was still a good book. So when I saw that The Lost was out, I was super excited to read this – it sounded so good! Granted it isn’t a new release by any means, but I’ve had a lot going on and have a lot of backlist books on my list that I’m finally just now getting to.
Let me tell you: The Lost is an amazing, edge of your seat thriller that I was drawn into from the first page. Not only that, but it was the kind of book that I simply could not get enough of – I couldn’t stop reading it, and I found myself staying up really late to read it and pretty much ignoring everything until I finished it. It was just so, so good. It was one of the best books that I have read so far in 2019, and definitely way better than The Cellar, and I thought that one was good.
“Ten runaways. That’s what the police are calling them.”
“But still, eleven runaways in seven months seems high. They’ve all completely vanished without a trace.”
Piper’s hometown is dealing with the disappearances of a large group of teenagers in a very short period of time. Eleven have disappeared so far without a trace – and some of them have even taken bags with them, appearing to have run away. But doesn’t that seem like quite a few runaways for such a short amount of time? Piper thinks so. In fact, she is so sure, she wants to try and figure out what happened.
She and her best friend, Hazel, decide to head to a party. There, Piper encounters the friends of Lucie, the latest of the “runaway” teens. She also meets Caleb and his friend, a nice guy who flirts with her and makes her feel special – and then she meets up with him again later when she and Hazel are leaving the party. The boys take the girls back to their place in the woods, complete with game room and all the fun they could want – until fun for everyone turns into something a little more sinister.
“Theo tilts his head. ‘They keep us here. It’s their idea of fun,’ he spits. ‘There are rooms.’ His eyes darken, as does his voice. ‘Challenges.'”
The girls find themselves locked in a room where they have to go through “orientation,” wearing the clothes that the boys have picked out for them and watching a video where they learn they will be under constant surveillance while they play “games.” After orientation, they are shown to a room that houses several other kids, including Lucie – the girl who was thought to have run away. When they are there, they learn the true meaning about what is happening in the rooms.
“We all react differently, and maybe I won’t be the same if something bad happens to me, but I’ve always been of the opinion that although I can’t always control what happens in my life, I can control how I react to it.”
While Hazel finds herself freaking out and losing control over the situation, Piper tries to keep a clear head and figure out how long all the kids have been in the room, as well as how they could possibly escape. Quick to make friends with Theo, Piper asks questions and tries to work with him in order to get through it.
When the kids are called, one by one, over the intercom to the torture rooms, Piper waits her turn in fear: will she be taken to the torture room that uses water torture, light torture, or sound torture? Or will she be taken to the room that will test her ability to withstand incredibly high and low temperatures? They never know until they are called into the room…
“Something is coming. Every moment here is building up like a pressure cooker, and I don’t know when it’s going to explode. I only know that an explosion is inevitable.”
As time goes on, and days turn into weeks of torture and living in cramped quarters, Piper and the others find themselves on edge, knowing that something even worse is in store for them, although they cannot figure out what. When a new kid enters the room, a stranger that claims to have been going from torture room to torture room for months at a time in order to be punished for his crass behavior, the others are hesitant to befriend him. Piper, however, finds herself not only drawn to him in terms of friendship, but also falling for him in a romantic way. She trusts him, and he helps her through each torture. But in the end, is she right to trust him? Or is there something more about him that she doesn’t know…something evil, sinister?
“I would ask Caleb when I see him, but I don’t know how helpful it would be to know, kind of like knowing when you’re going to die. Some things are better left unsaid, and my purpose for being in this dungeon is definitely one of them.”
Depressed, feeling alone and helpless, and trying her hardest to convince the others of a plan to escape, Piper tries to work through her feelings to figure out why she is in the dungeon and why she is being tortured. When betrayal hits and Piper is blind sighted, she is forced to make a quick decision, because her life, as well as the lives of the others, are on the line.
The Lost is such a twisty, thrilling book. I rarely give thrillers 5 stars, but this one deserved them. It was fast paced in such a perfect way – not too fast paced that you wish it would slow down, but more like fast paced in a way that keeps you entertained throughout the whole thing with not a single boring moment.
Piper’s character was so wonderfully written. I loved her determination and her commitment to helping her new friends out of such a rough situation, as well as her innocence in wanting to trust them, even if it might not be for the best.
The plot was just…wow. Did this book have to end? Couldn’t it have gone on forever? I mean…I definitely want a second book about what happens after that ending, because it was definitely one explosive ending that I didn’t see coming.
I loved this book so much I actually bought a copy of this one, as well as You Will Be Mine, which I also haven’t read. I am so excited for her upcoming release for next year, The Twin, because it sounds so, so good.
If you like Natasha Preston, or thrillers in general, this is the book for you, no questions asked. Seriously, don’t even think about it – just go and grab a copy at your library or bookstore. It’s worth the read!