“Pines” by Blake Crouch is the first book of the Wayward Pines trilogy. The name might sound familiar as there was a TV show based off of the trilogy, but it was canceled after season two.
Please note: reader discretion is advised. This review will have detailed plot spoilers. If you want to see my rating of the book and whether or not I recommend it, go to the bottom of the review.
The book starts off with a secret service agent, Ethan Burke, sent to the fictional town of Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two other agents. Ethan and another agent are in a car accident, and Ethan wakes up in the hospital in Wayward Pines. Ethan’s phone, ID, and briefcase are nowhere to be found. Many questions begin to arise: why can’t Ethan contact his family or the secret service office in Seattle? Why does nobody believe he is who he claims to be? Why can’t anyone speak of the past? Why is there a giant fence surrounding the town, and why did he find the rotting corpse of one of the missing agents in an abandoned house?
The writing and plot of this book are very interesting. The chapters flash between Ethan (in Wayward Pines0 and his wife and their son (in Seattle). The reader comes to realize that things in Wayward Pines are very, very off. Everyone acts very strange, aside from one lady, Beverly, who Ethan meets and befriends. Ethan ends up finding the other missing agent, Kate Hewson, who claims she has been living in the town for over a decade. She tells Ethan that everyone is constantly under surveillance, and he discovers that there are microphones and cameras everywhere.
Beverly explains to Ethan that the other agent was killed. When someone commits a serious crime in the town, the townsfolk hunt the criminal down and the sheriff executes them. Ethan ends up back in the hospital after a confrontation with the sheriff, and the book changes perspective to his wife. A man named David Pilcher who is somehow involved in Ethan’s disappearance captures Ethan’s wife and their son. Ethan awakes in the hospital once again to the town psychiatrist sitting next to him. He and the head nurse, Pam, begin to prep Ethan for some sort of medical procedure, but Beverly manages to help Ethan escape. The two of them are later hunted down by the townsfolk and Beverly is executed. Right before the chase to capture Ethan begins, his wife is seen in a house in the town, refusing to join the hunt.
Ethan manages to pass the fence and reaches the mountains that border the town. While he climbs, he encounters strange monsters that try to kill him. The monsters kind of reminded me of Golem but a lot stronger and without an obsession with a ring.
Ethan manages to make it to some sort of facility in the mountains. Ethan is captured by the sheriff and the psychiatrist, Dr. Jenkins. They are about to kill him, but Jenkins delivers the earth-shattering truth about Wayward Pines. In the late twentieth century, David Pilcher realized that because of the environmental destruction committed by humans, humanity would eventually evolve into monstrous creatures. Pilcher proceeded to capture many humans over the next few days and preserve their bodies. Two thousand years later, Pilcher awakened the people and staged car accidents. Everyone in the town believes that they are in the twentieth/twenty-first century, but this is not the case. They are are living in the early 4000s. Then, Jenkins reveals himself to be Pilcher.
The main things I liked about this book were the ingenious plot and the characters. Many of the characters were not perfect, including Ethan. Far too often the protagonist of the story is a flawless person that has no faults whatsoever. Ethan, however, has a dark past. He had an affair with Kate while married to his wife. He had been captured in war and tortured for months, and eventually killed his torturer. The sheriff, while seeming to be an antagonist ultimately had good intentions; keeping people from finding out the truth.
Overall I would rate this book 5/5 stars and I strongly recommend it to anyone that likes sci-fi, dystopia, and mysteries. I would give an age rating of 13+ due to swearing and a few detailed & gory scenes.
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