- Audiobook Review
- Author: Suzanne Young
- Performed by Julia Whelan
- Published: Simon & Schuster Audio, released on Audible November 2015
- Category: Young Adult, Supernatural
When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.
Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are devastated over the sudden and premature death of their mother. Their father is also finding it hard to cope and is taking them to stay with their grandmother. The three of them are distanced from each other, dealing with grief, or not, in their own way. Tired and emotional, their father decides on a one night stop over at the Hotel Ruby.
The suspicion that all is not as it seems at the Ruby is evident almost immediately. A strange atmosphere pervades the hotel, for all its beauty and grandeur. Audrey feels it but her father and brother seem happy to be there and one night expands into two and three.The hotel provides diversions of interest and pleasure, including a party every evening in the grand ballroom, by invitation only. Audrey’s father and Daniel have an invitation. Audrey does not and she can’t understand why.
Audrey becomes friendly with the staff and one of the guests, Elias Lange, who also attends the nightly parties. The more Audrey learns about the Ruby, its tragic past and the creepily vicious concierge, Kenneth, the more curious she becomes, and determines to find out more.
“Same party every night. It’s what we do here.” He loosens his tie and then reaches to grab a glass from the tray of a passing server.
“We? Do you stay here a lot? I ask.
He sips, looks at me, and sips again. “I do. Want me to show you around? I’ve about mastered the trust-fund-kid tour. Promise it’s more fun than this.”
I haven’t read this author before but the premise of the story was intriguing, and as I enjoy Julia Whelan’s narrations very much, I decided to go for it. The book actually seems to be aimed at the younger end of the young adult market, and as such I was surprised at some of the language.
The pacing in the beginning was a little slow but the last quarter of the story was really good with some unexpected twists, and I didn’t guess the ending. That conclusion and the powerful attraction of the Ruby made the story for me. The descriptions of the hotel and events that happen there are very visual and images are easily evoked.
Some of the characters are a little sketchy, perhaps not developed to their full potential. Audrey does grow up a little and become more likeable in the latter stages of the story. However, I wasn’t sold on the insta-love scenario between her and Elias, especially as Audrey is supposed to be feeling intense sorrow. The combination of mystery and suspense was absorbing in parts, along with the supernatural element, the feeling of unease and the sense of strangeness about both the hotel and some of the guests. I didn’t find the story scary at all, possibly the target audience would. There is a creep factor and a few gory scenes but they’re not too graphic. Listening was the best choice for me, Julia Whelan gave Audrey more personality than I think reading the book would have.
About Suzanne Young
Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program, The Treatment, and several other novels. She currently lives in Tempe, Arizona where she teaches high school English and obsesses about books. Learn more about Suzanne at www.suzanne-young.blogspot.com | Facebook | Twitter