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The Cabin at the End of the World Review

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay is the story of a family that is tormented by a group of attackers. The four people holding the family captive claim that they were contacted by some sort of higher power, and they were told that the members of the family would have to decide which of them would die; by picking one of them as a sacrifice, they would save the world from the apocalypse.


As the family is held captive (and their attackers try to force them to pick a sacrifice), the attackers are killed (one-by-one) as the members of the family try to defend themselves. As each member died, those who survived would turn on the news to see what was going on in the world, only to discover some kind of disaster. They claimed that because the family members were not deciding which one of them would serve as a sacrifice, horrible things were happening (like plane crashes); if and when they sacrificed one of themselves, the whole world would be saved.


In the process of trying to save themselves, the members of the family figure out that one of their attackers was someone who committed a hate crime against one of them years previously, and he insisted that this person had only convinced the others to help him finish off the job of killing the members of the family. This family member also insisted that their attackers knew exactly what they were going to see on the TV when they turned on the news to see if there had been any disasters (claiming that the news programs hadn’t been live, and they knew that the taped programs would be playing again).


While trying to save themselves and get away from their attackers, a member of the family was killed accidently, but since the child was not sacrificed consciously, her death was n ot considered the proper kind of sacrifice to save the world.


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In the end, the final attacker is held at gunpoint by the remaining family members. Trying to force the attacker to take them to the car the attackers had stashed a couple of miles away, the book ends with them walking away from the body of the final attacker.


I had read that there was a twist in the end, and I had expected that there would have been something big coming; I thought we might have found out that everything had been inside the mind of one of the family members (the lead up to the end made this ending make sense). But there was nothing that could have been called an actual twist.


Though the whole of the story, the attackers kept speaking about how they were trying to save the world by sacrificing one of the family, but no matter how much they talk about that, it seemed much more like they talked themselves into believing something that was not true. What made it even more frustrating was that, by the end, the survivors of the attack appeared to believe that the end of the world was coming as well.


I will admit to being disappointed with the ending, having wanted something smore significant at the end; perhaps, if there had been more closure in the end, I would have been more satisfied with how things had happened. And while it seemed the attackers believed the things they had been saying, the more time that went on, the more it seemed like they may have had some kind of mental issues (talking themselves into believing something that was not true or possible).

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