A thrilling extreme horror novel bursting with creativity – and various other bodily fluids.
Final Girl tells the story of a gameshow of the same name, an ultra-illegal gameshow hosted on the dark web, in which young women must face off against a variety of horrible dangers for the chance at a massive cash prize. These dangers include twisted bogeymen, surgically-altered abominations – and one another. Naturally, only one can survive to be the victor.
This book has a lot of things going for it that really elevate it above many other entries in the genre. For starters, it is genuinely suspenseful and thrilling. The various characters are introduced – and often killed off – in a manner so seemingly arbitrary and random that predicting the outcome of the book feels almost impossible. I had no idea who was going to emerge as the titular Final Girl, and had to keep guessing right till the very end. The characters themselves are generally interesting, with compelling motives and backstories that often get woven into the narrative. Some of them are fascinating and highly memorable, like the twins Berry and Cherry, who are without a doubt two of the funniest, coolest, most interesting horror heroines I’ve ever come across. The monsters and bogeymen are generally novel and interesting as well. The impressive level of creativity on display extends to the setting. Final Girl features a level of world-building that seems remarkably deep for a horror book. Everything feels well thought out and rich, with the impression of more layers of detail hidden below the surface. The Red Octopus Corporation – the sinister organization that bankrolls the game of death – is enriched by so many tantalizing pieces of information that it truly feels like a complex and multi-dimensional entity with a vast backstory waiting to be told.
This book exceeded my expectations in many ways, and is one of the best extreme horrors I’ve read in 2020.