Published: July 10th, 2017; self-published | Series: Rainbow Noir #1 | Length: 90 pages | Genre: horror | Source: I received an eARC from the author. | Possible Triggers: violence, ableism (related to mental health), sexist insults (like sl*t, wh*re), self-harm
Summary from Goodreads:
Words have consequences. For some, more than others.
Bestselling novelist Emma Ross isn’t satisfied being number two. She wants to be number one. She can’t stand always looking up to Jessen Blake – an amazing writer – but also a dead one. She vows that her next book will top the charts no matter what it takes. But after repeated encounters in her dreams with Jessen Blake himself, warning her that she must never become number one, Emma drives herself harder than ever to top him. But as her grip on reality starts to unravel, she begins to suspect that her words may have more power than she could possibly imagine.
I’ve read quite a few of C.E. Wilson’s books in the past and really enjoyed them, so I was more than happy to receive a copy of her first adult horror novel to review. This definitely wasn’t a perfect book, but I still found it enjoyable enough that I’ll be happy to pick up the next book in the series.
The one thing that really stands out as something that I disliked was the way mental health was talked about in this book. I’m always hesitant to criticize individual novels for this because it is a huge problem within the horror genre as a whole (as well as mysteries and thrillers) – a LOT of horror books handle mental health really poorly and this was, unfortunately, not an exception. While it doesn’t necessarily rely on the whole “mentally ill people are evil and violent” trope it does use some stereotypes about mental health. It demonizes medications with the main character refusing to take them because they “turn her into a zombie” and would make it difficult for her to write. She constantly is judged as being “crazy” by people she knows. And towards the end, the main character unravels in a way that is very stereotypical for mentally ill characters. I’m having a hard time putting my exact thoughts into words here, but basically, if you’re someone who is hurt by stereotypical/negative portrayals of mentally ill people, you might want to skip this book.
That’s really the only big problem I had with the book and, like I said, I’m hesitant to complain too much about it simply because it’s a genre problem, not an individual book/author problem. (That’s a subject for another time and not one to tackle in a review, truthfully.) My only other complaint would be that the book was a little predictable, but it wasn’t so predictable that it was boring or uninteresting so it wasn’t a huge problem for me. Actually, one more thing that was slightly frustrating was how long it took for the horror elements to really start. There’s a lot of creepiness and you definitely know that something bad is going to happen but, if I remember correctly, it was over halfway through the book before anything bad actually happened. Not a horrible thing, but like I said, it was a little frustrating.
One last thing that I wouldn’t really call a complaint since it’s definitely just something that I personally don’t like, rather than an actual complaint about the book, is that I wasn’t expecting there to be such a focus on marital issues. Emma’s ex-husband plays a fairly large role and there’s a lot of talk about their problems, especially him cheating on her. I personally get really bored with these kinds of topics simply because they’re very unrelatable to me. Again, I wouldn’t really call this a complaint of mine since it has nothing to do with the actual writing, but it’s something I thought I’d mention.
But don’t be fooled into thinking I didn’t like this story! While it wasn’t perfect, there was still plenty that I found to be enjoyable. For starters, it was really freaking captivating. Right from the first few pages, it had me hooked and I had a hard time putting it down, especially once it got closer to the end. I don’t even know what it really was that made it so engrossing, honestly, but you won’t catch me complaining about that!
Don’t Write It Down was also quite creative and imaginative, as most of C.E. Wilson’s books are. Although like I said, some of it was predictable, there were small little descriptions and these fantastical or paranormal elements that were incorporated into the book which I really enjoyed. It added a little extra something to make the book that much more fun to read.
Although Don’t Write It Down had some flaws, it’s still an enjoyable and imaginative book. If you’re in the mood for a horror book, but don’t want something that will take forever to read or that will scare you so much you have to sleep with the lights on (it’s creepy, but not that bad!), this is an excellent choice. Not to mention, you can preorder it for your Kindle right now for only $0.99!
Thank you to the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.