Inspection
J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world. J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know. But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them? Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.

Inspection Details

TitleInspection
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 19th, 2019
PublisherDel Rey
Rating
GenreHorror, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Inspection Review

  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
    January 1, 1970
    Right now is a great time to be Josh Malerman.The success of the Netflix Original, BIRD BOX, based on his horror novel of the same title, is staggering. I'm not at all surprised. Great books make great movies. Everything that is excellent about the film, is due to the fact that Malerman's story is a sweet set up for a film adaptation. I *felt* that book in a very tangible way so it was so cool to see that translated to the screen by people in the industry that respected Malerman's work and honor Right now is a great time to be Josh Malerman.The success of the Netflix Original, BIRD BOX, based on his horror novel of the same title, is staggering. I'm not at all surprised. Great books make great movies. Everything that is excellent about the film, is due to the fact that Malerman's story is a sweet set up for a film adaptation. I *felt* that book in a very tangible way so it was so cool to see that translated to the screen by people in the industry that respected Malerman's work and honored the story.During the maelstrom of the movie buzz and Bird Box memes, I received, INSPECTION in the mail.(thanks Del Rey & Josh)I went into this novel totally blind (not blindfolded though, I wanted to SEE)I actually only read the synopsis right when I was ready to read it. I was excited to learn that this story could be Malerman trying his hand at a coming of age tale! To me, INSPECTION sounded like a dark fantasy with horror undertones and a coming of age theme and that is exactly what it was but SO MUCH MORE as well because absolutely no author working today shares Josh's imagination.This book is totally original.It's almost alien in origin because everything is so completely unexpected. Broken up into acts, Act one is the set up and an introduction to Malerman's world building. At first blush, you're tempted to be overwhelmed by all the newness. Young characters are identified as letters of the alphabet, special words are capitalized to signify importance (I kept track of these in a notebook), phrases are repeated, some adults have acronyms for names, I mean, this isn't lazy reading. Josh Malerman wants you sitting up in bed with your reader-engagement turned on. I got a real sense that I wasn't going to be spoon-fed some sloppy drama but that there was some serious intentionality going on.In fact, I felt like I was reading this book for my Freshman lit teacher, Mr. Emmett who taught his class all the signs of good storytelling like, mood, story arcs, narrative, symbolism and foreshadowing...yes! All those things! Pay attention Reader--Josh Malerman is *doing* something here.Moving into Act 2 was so exciting because the focus turned to the young protagonists. There was some great dialog and character development here and I was thankful for it. Also, some important themes are set in place in Act 2 that will carry through the rest of the book and then BLOW YOUR MIND as the conclusion begins to unfold.And then from about the middle of the book to the end--I was SPELLBOUND.What a strange, insidious, magical, beautiful story this was.There's nothing like it and there will never be anything quite like it again. This is, at its core, a cautionary tale. It tackles some big themes of Love and Loss. Hope. Fear. Oppression. Revenge. Uprisings. Passion. The human spirit.Unquenchable desires.Nature vs. Nurture.Raising children.Freedom and Restraint.I could write an essay. I really could.But this is one of the first reviews and all the reader discovery needs to be yours.I'm just here to tell you that I loved this book and you should preorder it. Now. Don't forget.Releases in April.(I hope they make another movie)
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I think I'll be keeping this one brief, as I don't want to spoil anything and I am a middle of the road reviewer for this book. As others before me have stated, this one is a super slow burn, which isn't bad, but I think keeps the books from feeling as sinister as it could. I completely agree with Dennis's recommendation that fans of suspense that are a bit squeamish of straight up horror may really take to this story. The ending was epic, and 100 points to Malerman's Hogwarts House for all the I think I'll be keeping this one brief, as I don't want to spoil anything and I am a middle of the road reviewer for this book. As others before me have stated, this one is a super slow burn, which isn't bad, but I think keeps the books from feeling as sinister as it could. I completely agree with Dennis's recommendation that fans of suspense that are a bit squeamish of straight up horror may really take to this story. The ending was epic, and 100 points to Malerman's Hogwarts House for all the creativity with this story. Seriously, it was incredibly imaginative and highly unique. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Best laid plans and all that......What happens when good old D.A.D and M.O.M keep their "children" in the dark? That really is the question! J is one of the 26 Alphabet boys. They are being raised by D.A.D. and his "staff". The boys are smart, they are being raised to be prodigies. They only know each other, their school, their D.A.D. and the people who work at the school. They fear disease almost as much as they fear becoming spoiled rotten and being sent to the Corner. *shivers* J has always b Best laid plans and all that......What happens when good old D.A.D and M.O.M keep their "children" in the dark? That really is the question! J is one of the 26 Alphabet boys. They are being raised by D.A.D. and his "staff". The boys are smart, they are being raised to be prodigies. They only know each other, their school, their D.A.D. and the people who work at the school. They fear disease almost as much as they fear becoming spoiled rotten and being sent to the Corner. *shivers* J has always been happy with the status quo, but he like the other boys are getting older, they are maturing, and they are beginning to ask questions. Meanwhile, another school exists. A school run by M.O.M who raises 26 girls, one of whom is named K. She has questions as well. This book was a slow burn for me. Very different from Malerman's books such as Bird Box and Unbury Carol. Kudos for him for originality and creativity. Seriously, my hat is off for him thinking outside of the box and being unique. But this was a little slow for me until, well, it wasn't. The end of the book really kicks things into high gear. What happens when people are kept in the dark? What happens when you learn about the existence of others? What happens when those you trusted kept secrets and lied to you? What happens when you learn the truth? I do like the use of the alphabet or letters for the children. I thought he did a good job showing how the adults stayed detached. No real names for the kids- unless the letter of the alphabet constitutes as a name Reminded me of Bird Box when the children were known as boy or girl. They have an identity and yet not an identity at the same time.This was a solid 3 star read for me. The slowness brought it down a little for me. It is thought provoking. A great book for discussion. I love the premise but would have liked more intensity throughout. I can almost see this played out as a movie. There is a sense of dread throughout the book. As a reader, I wanted to know what would happen when the "truth" came out. What happens when those who were never supposed to meet, do in fact meet? Plus, I really wanted to know how one became spoiled rotten and got sent to the Corner? What was the corner? Thank you to Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and NetGalley for proving me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    Once again I find myself branching out into the dystopian world. How could I possibly resist the latest release from Josh Malerman. I absolutely loved his previous release of Bird Box.While Bird Box rests comfortably on my favorite shelf, this one just fell a bit shy of reaching that status for me. An ingenious premise that promised an explosive mind-blowing read. But I just couldn’t quite let go and be taken there. While I really liked it...I just can't say I loved it as much as Bird Box.There Once again I find myself branching out into the dystopian world. How could I possibly resist the latest release from Josh Malerman. I absolutely loved his previous release of Bird Box.While Bird Box rests comfortably on my favorite shelf, this one just fell a bit shy of reaching that status for me. An ingenious premise that promised an explosive mind-blowing read. But I just couldn’t quite let go and be taken there. While I really liked it...I just can't say I loved it as much as Bird Box.There are two groups of children being raised completely separate from the other. The Alphabet boys and the Letter girls. Neither group is aware of the others’ existence. All raised to reach their full potential without the distraction of knowing that there’s another sex alive, well, and being raised just 3 miles away. The book began just a bit slow for me, but I was eventually deeply drawn into this world of Letter Children. But the ending left me wanting more. I haven’t heard of a follow up...but a girl can dream! I do recall I felt the same way with Bird Box. I wanted more! Is that Josh Malerman’s sneaky style? I believe it is. Will it stop me from reaching for his next release? Not a chance! Already looking!A buddy read with Susanne! Thank you Susanne for reading this one with me!Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and Josh Malerman for an ARC to read and review.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Random House Publishing and Ballantine books.I have this love/hate/whatever relationship with Mr. Malerman. I love his story ideas. I love them so much that even when I know I shouldn't read his stuff, I still do. Except for Unbury Carol. Nope, the title makes me gasp for breath! Inspection was weird for me. I really hated the first 70% of this book. That's not to say that I hated the story or the character's. I personally loved the kids in this book. The story was slow, and just wh My thanks to Random House Publishing and Ballantine books.I have this love/hate/whatever relationship with Mr. Malerman. I love his story ideas. I love them so much that even when I know I shouldn't read his stuff, I still do. Except for Unbury Carol. Nope, the title makes me gasp for breath! Inspection was weird for me. I really hated the first 70% of this book. That's not to say that I hated the story or the character's. I personally loved the kids in this book. The story was slow, and just when it started to pick up, it switched p.o.v.'s, and slowed down again. That is my main issue with this book. It was such a slow paced book. I knew though that I was gonna have to suck it up if I wanted to get to the good bits. Hah! Thing is that nobody should ever have to suck it up! We should be entertained throughout. The last 30% was great. It was all I wanted it to be. That's a sorry darn thing though. Everyone who reads this will be wanting that ending. I love a good ending. But, when a story is so darned tedious, I want more. Yes. I did get the ending I hoped for, but I also needed more. It was a bloody end, but then what? What happened after? What did M.O.M. & D.A.D. have planned for these alphabet kids! Damn it! What? So, maybe I should.have posted a spoiler, but if you can figure out the book from this idiotic review, then send me your address, and I will show up at your house, knock you down, and stick gold and silver stars on your forehead. Also, one on your butt just for making me take the time out. Would I recommend this book. No. I have books that I spend real money on just to have extra copies to give away. This is not one of them. I'm not really sure why some author's think it's o.k. to bore the crap out of their audience, and then heat it up at the end. My favorite authors have always kept me entertained from start to finish. Also, for every darn and crap...Just know I toned it down for this #$%&&3 review. Yes, that actually means motherfucking review. In my head I was cussing like a sailor on shore leave who is told to visit their mama instead of the ho-house!
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
     Original, Zany and Perplexing... From the author of  Bird Box,  this novel completely threw me for a loop. A mesmerizing cover and a promising premise had me diving in with high expectations.From the first chapters I was aware of something dark and secretive going on with this group of boys duped "the alphabet boys".  They are living in a tower at a remote location as part of an "experiment".  These boys are being raised to become the worlds best in science, engineering and math.While I enjoye  Original, Zany and Perplexing... From the author of  Bird Box,  this novel completely threw me for a loop. A mesmerizing cover and a promising premise had me diving in with high expectations.From the first chapters I was aware of something dark and secretive going on with this group of boys duped "the alphabet boys".  They are living in a tower at a remote location as part of an "experiment".  These boys are being raised to become the worlds best in science, engineering and math.While I enjoyed the creative idea, I felt it lacked the suspense and tension that I was craving. I was interested in finding out more about what was happening at the "Parenthood" , but parts were repetitive and all the kids with the letter names became confusing. Although there is a nice plot turn towards the end, it happened a bit late in the game for me.Thank you to NG and the Pub for my review copy. This book releases on 4/24/19 
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    4 BIG-TIME STARS FOR ORIGINALITY! Like so many, I love, love, loved BIRD BOX, (both novel and movie) enjoyed THE HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE and UNBURY CAROL, and now after reading INSPECTION, one thing I know for sure is....with Josh Malerman, you never know what you're going to get! "They deserve the truth." Malerman sets the stage by introducing the reader to a bizzare school of trusting young teens (with letters for names) living in a secluded world of strict laws and fear of disease. O 4 BIG-TIME STARS FOR ORIGINALITY! Like so many, I love, love, loved BIRD BOX, (both novel and movie) enjoyed THE HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE and UNBURY CAROL, and now after reading INSPECTION, one thing I know for sure is....with Josh Malerman, you never know what you're going to get! "They deserve the truth." Malerman sets the stage by introducing the reader to a bizzare school of trusting young teens (with letters for names) living in a secluded world of strict laws and fear of disease. One must ALWAYS stay clean and NEVER, EVER become spoiled rotten or consequences could be fatal.....with a trip down to T.H.E. C.O.R.N.E.R.Daily morning INSPECTIONS are invasive and bare all, but innocence turns surprisingly dark when suspicions bring about dangerous adventures that expose a shocking world of lies.I prefer the even darker, more suspenseful (BIRD BOX) side of Malerman, but sign me up for whatever he dreams up next!*ARC provided by Random House Publishing House Ballantine via NetGalley in exchange for review*
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 Stars* (rounded up).Well, that was different. In truth, I couldn’t tear my eyes away!What can I say without giving too much away? “Inspection” is weird and wild and had a really interesting concept. The first part was a little slower for me and took a while to get into and then BAM!!, the second part took off and I was all in. The characterizations hooked me. K and B, got me and and they got me good. Reality is not what you think it is and truth well, what is the truth? Be honest and you ar 3.75 Stars* (rounded up).Well, that was different. In truth, I couldn’t tear my eyes away!What can I say without giving too much away? “Inspection” is weird and wild and had a really interesting concept. The first part was a little slower for me and took a while to get into and then BAM!!, the second part took off and I was all in. The characterizations hooked me. K and B, got me and and they got me good. Reality is not what you think it is and truth well, what is the truth? Be honest and you are safe or Lie and the Corner will await. What do you think and what do you actually know? Not much! Let me leave you with this: Girls rule and boys drool. Baah!! “Inspection” was definitely unlike any other book I have ever read. I have to hand it to Josh Malerman. He continues to think out of the box - for which I give him kudos. There is one part of the novel I thought was unnecessary and was ultimately too graphic and for which I was forced to cover my eyes... thus I must warn people in advance. For those of you looking for something a little different, I suggest giving this one a try. Yes it’s totally out there, completely weird and totally unlike “Bird Box” but that’s the beauty of it. It’s wholly original. This was a buddy read with Kaceey! Thanks for reading this with me Kace! It was a weird, wild ride!Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and Josh Malerman for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 3.10.10.Will be published on Amazon and Twitter on 3.19.19.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    1-1.5 stars.A husband and wife duo decide to live out a "thought experiment" where 26 boys and 26 girls are kept in separate towers in the Michigan wilderness. It is their hypothesis that if each sex is raised independently of each other and without knowledge that the other exists, the "genius" that will come as a byproduct of this upbringing will far outweigh the controversial nature in which this experiment was conducted. Where to begin? I'm going to be quite blunt. This book was awful. I mean 1-1.5 stars.A husband and wife duo decide to live out a "thought experiment" where 26 boys and 26 girls are kept in separate towers in the Michigan wilderness. It is their hypothesis that if each sex is raised independently of each other and without knowledge that the other exists, the "genius" that will come as a byproduct of this upbringing will far outweigh the controversial nature in which this experiment was conducted. Where to begin? I'm going to be quite blunt. This book was awful. I mean, really, really awful. I would absolutely have abandoned this after about 25 pages had it not been an ARC and by the author of "Bird Box". My expectations were very high because "Bird Box" was amazing. The book begins with the reader being plopped into this bizarre world where naked boys are led single file into a room where one by one they go through an "inspection". Grown men use magnifying glasses and dogs to quite literally inspect the boys for anything out of sorts. It is creepy, but you feel confused because as you continue reading you feel like you just started watching Game of Thrones or something equally complex in the middle of season 4. You have no idea what is going on, who people are or why these kids are being held here. At around 50%, enough clues have been doled out, but at that point I could have cared less. There was nothing in the story to make me feel anything about the plight of these boys. Then the girls are introduced to the story and you just re-hash the same crap from their perspective. Oh and did I forget the make out scenes? With 12 year olds? Who just discovered the opposite sex exists and that their whole world is a lie? Of course there were make out scenes! Why wouldn't there be? It's the most logical thing on the planet when being confronted with the reality that you have no idea how you came to be in this place, why you weren't told there is an entire world past your building and you've been lied to your entire life. I won't spoil the ending, but do yourself a favor and save yourself the time. This is a slow burn for no gain.Thanks to Netgalley, Random House, Ballantine Books for the opportunity to read this e-galley and provide an honest review.Publication date: April 23rd
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    ★★★In my opinion, Josh Malerman has a very abstract way of storytelling, and with all abstract art forms, it is open to interpretation. Although Inspection is more of a straightforward story once you have all the information, there are still some interesting concepts that lay underneath. Because the mystery component is dependent on the reader having zero information about the plot line, I must refrain from incorporating any sort of synopsis into this review. But the themes I took away from my r ★★★½In my opinion, Josh Malerman has a very abstract way of storytelling, and with all abstract art forms, it is open to interpretation. Although Inspection is more of a straightforward story once you have all the information, there are still some interesting concepts that lay underneath. Because the mystery component is dependent on the reader having zero information about the plot line, I must refrain from incorporating any sort of synopsis into this review. But the themes I took away from my reading experience say plenty: trust and obedience, misinformation and power, and the absolute necessity for authority to be questioned...and inspected. In this book, the literal horror may not begin until the final 5 percent of the book, but the overall story in itself is indeed horrifying. Innocent coming of age collides with a karmic level of authoritarian impeachment any good educator would be proud (and scared) of. What's your favorite letter of the alphabet, folks? Check it out.Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of Inspection. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.Source: NetGalleyAuthor: Josh Malerman Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Del ReyGenres: Horror, Mystery & ThrillersPub Date: March 19, 2019
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  • Zoeytron
    January 1, 1970
    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.Experiments do not always come to fruition in the way that is expected.  This is a whole new twist on the concept of Parenthood.  The dreaded daily Inspections, checking for disease and rot.  If there is any sign of spoilage, the Corner awaits.  The Corner hums and croons and sometimes it rumbles.  What goes on behind that door? I applaud this author's fresh ideas, how he eschews the formulaic recipes and has yet to use a cookie-cutter.  I l Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.Experiments do not always come to fruition in the way that is expected.  This is a whole new twist on the concept of Parenthood.  The dreaded daily Inspections, checking for disease and rot.  If there is any sign of spoilage, the Corner awaits.  The Corner hums and croons and sometimes it rumbles.  What goes on behind that door? I applaud this author's fresh ideas, how he eschews the formulaic recipes and has yet to use a cookie-cutter.  I loved Bird Box and also really liked Unbury Carol.  Unfortunately, I couldn't gain much traction with this one.  A little too YA-ish for my taste, but that may add to the appeal for plenty of others.
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  • Sylvain Neuvel
    January 1, 1970
    Malerman gives a master class in mood-building with this deliciously creepy coming-of-age story. I don’t want to spoil anything because you need to savor every line, but I’d call it Dead Poets Society as directed by Tim Burton. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    Josh Malerman returns with another of his novels that bends the mind while captivating the reader’s attention from the get-go. Full of intriguing twists alongside layers of social commentary, Malerman has created yet another book that will have people thinking, even without a Netflix adaptation. A group of twenty-four boys live in a tall building, isolated from anyone else. These boys, each given a letter rather than a name—two boys, A and Z, are no longer with the group—were plucked from the ja Josh Malerman returns with another of his novels that bends the mind while captivating the reader’s attention from the get-go. Full of intriguing twists alongside layers of social commentary, Malerman has created yet another book that will have people thinking, even without a Netflix adaptation. A group of twenty-four boys live in a tall building, isolated from anyone else. These boys, each given a letter rather than a name—two boys, A and Z, are no longer with the group—were plucked from the jaws of death by undeserving or incapable mothers and placed in this fine-tuned social experiment. Honed to become geniuses in their fields, the Alphabet Boys are kept on a strict academic and social regimen, which includes no knowledge of the opposite sex. The leaders, known as The Parenthood, keep the boys isolated through lectures and literature that makes no mention of girls, as that would surely prove to be a distraction to genius behaviour. Regular ‘inspections’, which are both physican and mental tests, ensure the boys are in tip-top shape as they forge onwards to becoming the smartest they can be. However, there are some within The Parenthood who do not entirely agree with the social experiment, which has been going on for upwards of a dozen years, offering hints of the opposite sex in a piece of literature that is an epiphany and revelation rolled into one. Meanwhile, on the other side of the same isolated forest, someone looks up into the trees and sketches something that looks less arboreous and more along the lines of their own spired dwelling. Whispers begins and The Parenthood are alerted to the start of the disintegration of the social experiment. With the inspections come new truths and the Alphabet Boys have their blinders removed, as key members of The Parenthood scramble to herd their flock together. What will happen when all is revealed and will it change the dynamics of these young lives? Malerman does a fantastic job at keeping the reader guessing until the final pages, forcing deep thought while the reader is entertained by the premise. Recommended for those who have enjoyed some of Josh Malerman’s past novels that push the envelop.I read Malerman before all the television hype, so I was expecting something with a great deal of controversy as I began this piece. I will admit that I was not fully enthralled when I started, but things progressed nicely and, by the halfway point, I was sold and needed to know how things would progress. There is so much to learn from Malerman and the characters he places in the middle of his story. While many of the Alphabet Boys play key roles, it would seem that J is the one the narrative chooses as a protagonist. A boy of twelve with high intellect, J seeks to better understand his surroundings without knowing anything different. What he does discover shocks many and leaves the reader quite interesting, pulling them deeper into the story. There are other key characters, though their exploration at this point would spoil too much. The premise of the novel was quite ingenious, pushing themes of scholastic focus and segregation of the sexes, using a social experiment as its foundation. One can only hope that Malerman has other books that push the limits. With chapters that go into great detail and offer up different angles of the entire situation, the reader is treated to a thorough analysis of the situation at hand and the fallout from the cracks that emerge. Truly some worthwhile food for thought, in this well-written piece that will have readers talking for some time. Kudos, Mr. Malerman, for another winner. I cannot wait to find more of your work on which to feast and exercise my mind.Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
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  • Char
    January 1, 1970
    INSPECTION is a wildly imaginative and thought-provoking tale!What would happen if boys were raised without any knowledge of the opposite sex? That's the basic premise behind this book, (there's more to it, but I won't get spoiler-y.) Just think about that for a minute, think about what would be involved. How to explain where the boys came from, for instance? How to explain puberty and changes to the body? The answer to those questions and more is easy. You LIE. And what happens when those lies INSPECTION is a wildly imaginative and thought-provoking tale!What would happen if boys were raised without any knowledge of the opposite sex? That's the basic premise behind this book, (there's more to it, but I won't get spoiler-y.) Just think about that for a minute, think about what would be involved. How to explain where the boys came from, for instance? How to explain puberty and changes to the body? The answer to those questions and more is easy. You LIE. And what happens when those lies are discovered? You'll have to read INSPECTION to find out!I've never read a story quite like this before. That's a good thing. Josh Malerman's work may not always work 100% for me, but at this point, I know that I can always count on him for an original tale. There were a few moments when the narrative took a completely different direction, the first one worked for me and worked well. But the second one? Not so much. I didn't think that much of a change was totally believable and I deducted one star for that. Don't get me wrong: I did enjoy the denouement, but I don't think it will work for everyone. I had a LOT of fun reading this and stayed up way too late last night to finish it. When I'm willing to sacrifice the next day at work, to stay up reading- because I just have to know? That's a sign of a great book to me, and if you decide to try out INSPECTION? It might be good to arrange to have the next day off.Recommended! Get your copy here: https://amzn.to/2UdNPUC*Thanks to Del-Rey and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Josh Malerman is best known for his disturbing, deeply original novel “Bird Box,” about a mother determined to save her two young children, even though it will mean rowing 20 miles down a river, blindfolded. The brilliant elevator pitch behind that book? When you see it, whatever it is, you will kill yourself on the spot: hence, the mother’s need for the blindfold. The novel became a frightening movie and then an even more terrifying cult phenomenon, as people began vying for Darwin Awards by do Josh Malerman is best known for his disturbing, deeply original novel “Bird Box,” about a mother determined to save her two young children, even though it will mean rowing 20 miles down a river, blindfolded. The brilliant elevator pitch behind that book? When you see it, whatever it is, you will kill yourself on the spot: hence, the mother’s need for the blindfold. The novel became a frightening movie and then an even more terrifying cult phenomenon, as people began vying for Darwin Awards by doing stupid things while blindfolded — including, yes, driving.A sequel, “Malorie,” is set to publish in October. In the meantime, we have “Inspection,” a novel whose premise is also claustrophobic and unsettling, but more ambitious than that of “Bird Box.” A married couple, convinced that “genius is distracted by the opposite sex,” create an elaborate world in the woods of northern Michigan where 26 boys are raised from birth in one tower and 26 girls in another; neither group is allowed to know another sex exists. Humans are not the result of procreation but quite literally grow on trees. The goal is to raise “the world’s greatest engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.”The children have special teachers, special novels and special movies, all of which reinforce a one-gender world. There are also plenty of ex-cons to keep the adult faculty and support staff in line. The children, meanwhile, fear something called simply “the corner,” where two boys and one girl have been sent — and from which they never returned. They were, in the parlance of the adults running this experiment, spoiled rotten. (It is worth noting that it seems not to have crossed the minds of Malerman’s husband and wife visionaries that some of their boys and girls will be gay, a variable that would certainly impact an experiment designed to remove love and romance as intellectual distractions.)When the novel opens, the “Alphabet Boys” are 12 years old and the “Letter Girls” are 11. In other words, they are on the cusp of puberty. So, even Richard and Marilyn — a.k.a., “D.A.D.” and “M.O.M.” — the married mad scientists behind this endeavor, anticipate that what they refer to as the “delicate years” will be problematic. But like all mad scientists (or parents of any middle-school aged child), they seriously underestimate what looms ahead.Two especially precocious tweens, a boy named J and a girl named K, figure out something is amiss. (The fact that the children are referred to by letters, instead of names, makes it difficult to differentiate all of them except for J and K and also results in sentences like this: “There had long been tension between conservative E and funny B.”)J learns the world is not as they have all been taught from an adult, who, overwhelmed by his guilt at the way he and his peers have been lying to their charges, goes rogue and writes a tell-all book: a novel for the boys to read that actually has women in it. Separately, K begins to suspect the “parenthood” has been lying to her when she spies the second tower in the distance and then does some seriously impressive sleuthing.“Inspection” is rich with dread and builds to a dramatic climax. The last hundred pages are tense as we watch these young kids make decisions that will lead either to emancipation or the corner — which, it is pretty clear, is a euphemism for where the ex-cons quite literally bury the bodies. This is where the book is at its best.And even as the young people do battle with the ultimate monsters, “M.O.M.” and “D.A.D.” and their ex-con inspectors, Malerman reminds us the real horror is not the blood that will splatter the towers. It is not the loss of innocence precisely, but something subtler and more poignant — the malevolence that could see yearning and love as something negative in the first place:“[K] thought … of the feelings she had for J. Of the way he made her feel. The things he liked. His worries. His life. His voice. His eyes.“She paused in the pines, infused suddenly with what could only be called inspiration.“And she wondered, aloud, what kind of cruel people could consider such feelings a distraction.”Indeed. The children are not in cages in Malerman’s eerie new book. But they are lab rats.(This review originally ran in the Washington Post Book World on March 26, 2019.)
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  • Mindi
    January 1, 1970
    I sincerely do not know how to rate this. How do you rate a book that held you entranced, kept you turning pages because you had to KNOW what was ultimately going to happen, and yet you still found problematic to a degree? Also, I feel a rant coming on, because I've read a number of reviews for this one just now, and I have something to say.Let's address that first. People and expectations. Here's the thing about Josh Malerman, the sensational new voice in horror fiction who penned the fantastic I sincerely do not know how to rate this. How do you rate a book that held you entranced, kept you turning pages because you had to KNOW what was ultimately going to happen, and yet you still found problematic to a degree? Also, I feel a rant coming on, because I've read a number of reviews for this one just now, and I have something to say.Let's address that first. People and expectations. Here's the thing about Josh Malerman, the sensational new voice in horror fiction who penned the fantastic novel Bird Box which became a Netflix movie phenomenon. Josh Malerman has actually been around for quite a while. And now that everyone has seen Bird Box on Netflix they are picking up the book. And they want more Bird Box. But Josh isn't that kind of writer. He sincerely reinvents himself with each new book, and no two are even remotely alike. So no, you're not going to find another Bird Box amongst his existing work. I'm happy that Josh has found a new readership and serious acclaim for his story, but these new fans need to know that he's an eclectic writer who explores new sub-genres in all his books. He's not just the writer of Bird Box.But enough about those new Bird Box fans. I'm also reading that horror fans are disappointed because this isn't "true" horror. This is something that has bothered me for a while now, and the more I read it in reviews the more agitated I become. I almost wish we didn't lock books into genres. My reviews and my reading experiences are based on two simple questions: is it good writing, and did I enjoy the story? Define horror. Because horror has grown to mean so many different things to each person. What scares you may not scare me. What disgusts you, may not faze me. And so I don't feel as if you can hold a book up to the "is it horror" lens. If you give a book a bad review because it doesn't fall into what your idea of horror is, you're missing the point. If you didn't like the story, that's a whole different situation. But expectations are a slippery slope. That's why I don't have any when I start a book.Enough ranting. Time to review INSPECTION. This one is impossible to try to discuss without spoilers. I've just finished it, and I have a lot feelings right now. The story grabbed me immediately. It's definitely a slow burn, but I think that's important for the world building. I liked the characters, I liked the concept, and for the most part I enjoyed the writing and the execution. However, Malerman does ask the reader to suspend disbelief. Many people are disappointed in this novel because it inaccurately depicts sexuality. I read an interview where Malerman said that he purposely made his characters 12-year-olds so that he wouldn't have to deal with sexuality, and yet even at 12 children are starting to notice a change in their bodies. Most girls start their periods way earlier than 12, and so I think there would still be the issue of sexuality even in children that young. If you were raised to believe that there is only one gender, your gender, it seems very likely that you would discover sex anyway and that it would be natural for you to engage in the early stages of a sexual awakening with the boys/girls you are with every day. You simply cannot remove sexuality from the equation. It would just change to fit the environment. But this is fiction. Yes, it's grounded in reality, but this is Malerman's story to tell, and this is how he chose to tell it. So while I respect those who did not enjoy this novel because it eliminates the reality of sexuality in today's society, I also enjoyed the story. Yes, it did sort of nag me in the back of my mind that the situation was unrealistic, but let's be honest here. The entire situation is rather unrealistic. So I did suspend disbelief, and I kept turning pages, and I enjoyed this one for what it is. Would I have preferred a more accurate account of children on the cusp of puberty? Yes. But if anything INSPECTION will spark discussion, and that's what books are for. And now I'm eager to discuss this one with my friends.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first book by Josh Malerman and was ecstatic to get this approval! I have heard amazing things about Bird Box... and I'm pretty sure I'm about the only person in the world that hasn't read Bird Box yet haha ;). What happens when parents keep their children away from everything? The alphabet boys are being raised by D.A.D. and his staff members. The boys are very smart and only know what is being "taught" to them at school. The boys fear diseases like no ones business! One of the boys This was my first book by Josh Malerman and was ecstatic to get this approval! I have heard amazing things about Bird Box... and I'm pretty sure I'm about the only person in the world that hasn't read Bird Box yet haha ;). What happens when parents keep their children away from everything? The alphabet boys are being raised by D.A.D. and his staff members. The boys are very smart and only know what is being "taught" to them at school. The boys fear diseases like no ones business! One of the boys J is starting to mature even more and ask questions. What could possibly go wrong? This book was a serious slow burn for me. I put it down multiple times in the beginning and had a hard time picking it back up. Finally... the story picked up and was crazy at the end. I gave the author absolute kudos for his creativity! I definitely will have to say this is something that I've never read before!! I would say that this is a steady 3 star for me due to the slow pace of the book. I think this would be fantastic for a book group to read together. I was intrigued throughout the story and it kept me turning those pages to see what would happen with the alphabet boys. Huge thank you to Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.Publication date: 3/19/19Published to Goodreads: 1/31/19
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    After having more discussions with people after this book was released, I'm more frustrated by it than I already was, and I think my experience was closer to 2⭐ instead of 3⭐.This is a difficult review to write since I have really mixed feelings on Inspection. I enjoyed some parts of it, and was quite annoyed by others.Even if I don't always love the outcome, Josh Malerman always has creative concepts for his books. I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book, and a fair amount of the story was After having more discussions with people after this book was released, I'm more frustrated by it than I already was, and I think my experience was closer to 2⭐ instead of 3⭐.This is a difficult review to write since I have really mixed feelings on Inspection. I enjoyed some parts of it, and was quite annoyed by others.Even if I don't always love the outcome, Josh Malerman always has creative concepts for his books. I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book, and a fair amount of the story was mysterious and held my attention. I have to be so vague about my thoughts on this book because I don't want to spoil anything. My biggest issue with this book is that it's already outdated, and it hasn't even been released yet. If you've read the synopsis, then you know that boys and girls are separated while they're growing up. There's more that I can't go into, but it's completely illogical to not even address the possibility of homosexuality in this setting. Kids (even outside of this setting, even without being taught what sex is) can figure out what feels good, and could probably figure out that it would feel good if someone else did it, too. They are so obsessed with keeping boys and girls apart, but there's never any mention of what would happen if they liked each other. It's weird to pretend like it's not an option, and it threw off my enjoyment of the book. It doesn't make sense to never mention it, and it's an out of touch thought process. Gender is show in these neat little boxes, and there's no other option except to be one of two things. I hoped there would be more to the book than what the synopsis described, but I was wrong.Some parts of this book dragged and got repetitive, but I still liked reading it for the most part. I was very interested to find out what was going on, but I didn't feel like the pay-off was enough. It felt like it could have been very sinister in the beginning, and then never really went to the horrific level that it could have. It just sort of flatlined up until the end, and then I couldn't really buy into the ending. That's all I'm going to say about it. Overall, it was an interesting story, but I just had too many issues to fully get into it. The synopsis in my ARC called this a "sinister and evocative gender equality anthem", but I'm not sure who and what era this is supposed to be an equality anthem for, because it doesn't really work for 2019.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, so I’m probably one of the few readers out there that actually has not yet read Bird Box. I’ve certainly wanted to after seeing tons and tons of readers that loved it and now going on to make it to the screen with a major actress like Sandra Bullock. So when seeing that Inspection by Josh Malerman was coming out I wanted to beat the masses and read the next hit first…well….not so much.Inspection really feels more dystopian than horror which to me shouldn’t be a bad thing as I love a good dys Ok, so I’m probably one of the few readers out there that actually has not yet read Bird Box. I’ve certainly wanted to after seeing tons and tons of readers that loved it and now going on to make it to the screen with a major actress like Sandra Bullock. So when seeing that Inspection by Josh Malerman was coming out I wanted to beat the masses and read the next hit first…well….not so much.Inspection really feels more dystopian than horror which to me shouldn’t be a bad thing as I love a good dystopian read too but only when the creativity of the world is blended well with plenty of action and intrigue. Inspection had the creativity but seemed to stall out there with an incredibly slow pace which leads to me losing interest and not becoming invested.The idea behind Inspection of having boys named with all the letters of the alphabet and raised by D.A.D then finding out about girls in a separate location and their M.O.M. had potential. The whole thing gave me a bit of a Maze Runner vibe so I had high hopes but instead finished with more of a bah humbug feeling than excitement. I won’t let this deter me from trying Josh Malerman again but Inspection was only so-so to me.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Gabby
    January 1, 1970
    I am pretty disappointed with this one, not gonna lie. I absolutely loved Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of a Lake by this author, so I assumed I would love this one too. This story has a great concept - it’s about boys and girls living in separate towers who aren’t aware of the fact that the other gender even exists. I was really excited to read it.I had a few problems with this book: the first thing being that it’s way too fucking long. This idea would have probably worked better for a sho I am pretty disappointed with this one, not gonna lie. I absolutely loved Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of a Lake by this author, so I assumed I would love this one too. This story has a great concept - it’s about boys and girls living in separate towers who aren’t aware of the fact that the other gender even exists. I was really excited to read it.I had a few problems with this book: the first thing being that it’s way too fucking long. This idea would have probably worked better for a short story, but this book is nearly 400 pages long. There is so much filler and the beginning takes so long to get into. I don’t think this book is remotely interested until around 200 pages in. Another disappointing thing about this book is it doesn’t feel like a horror novel at all. I think this hardly even passes as a thriller let alone a horror novel. There was nothing thrilling about it for me. Very mild spoiler next but I didn’t realize that the reason these people decided to raise boys and girls separate is to prevent “distraction” in the form of romance and desire I guess and it’s like.....? Did they not think any of these kids would be gay? And if they were only raised around other boys aren’t the chances pretty high that they will develop crushes on other boys anyways? Idk I thought that was a huge oversight by the author.Overall, I’m disappointed because I wanted to love this but Josh Malerman can do better and has done better.
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  • Cody | codysbookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    I bought this thing for full price on release day. I should’ve known better, maybe, but after having a good time with Unbury Carol I thought it’d be safe. Nope. I was wrong.(No I’m not reviewing this. I’m angry.)
  • J.D. Barker
    January 1, 1970
    Engaging and suspenseful! Malerman creates a fiendish fairy tale of a world where boy was never meant to meet girl and the hell unleashed when they finally do.
  • Lisa Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, wow, this book is weird. At first, I even thought it might be TOO weird for me, which is rather hard for a book to achieve. But eventually, I got sucked in by the weirdness and became completely hooked on the story.So, deep in a remote forest, a group of 26 boys -- the Alphabet Boys -- have been raised from birth through age 12 in an all-male environment, never even knowing that females exist. It's all part of a grand experiment by the man they call D.A.D., attempting to prove that without Okay, wow, this book is weird. At first, I even thought it might be TOO weird for me, which is rather hard for a book to achieve. But eventually, I got sucked in by the weirdness and became completely hooked on the story.So, deep in a remote forest, a group of 26 boys -- the Alphabet Boys -- have been raised from birth through age 12 in an all-male environment, never even knowing that females exist. It's all part of a grand experiment by the man they call D.A.D., attempting to prove that without the distraction of the opposite sex, true genius is possible. Crazy, right?"Ever wonder how you came into being?""No," J said. "We come from the Orchard. The Living Trees."The boys are subject to daily Inspections, which they think is a test to see if they've been infected with imaginary diseases (such at Vees and Rotts) that they believe are real. The most horrible outcome is for a boy to be declared "spoiled rotten", which leads to being sent to the Corner -- and boys who go to the Corner do not come back. In reality, the Inspections are a way for D.A.D. and the Inspectors to monitor the boys' every thought and action, alert to hints that they might have stumbled across some sign of the dreaded female. Words like girl, woman, she, and her have no meaning for the Alphabet Boys.Meanwhile across the forest, a mirror-image tower full of girls -- the Letter Girls -- is engaged in the exact same experiment in reverse. It's so insane. Eventually, of course, the boys and girls have first contact behind the adults' backs, and from there, the carefully orchestrated life in the towers spirals quickly out of control.I ended up fascinating by this story. After somewhat ambivalent feelings early on, I got very caught up. The story really takes off once the girls are introduced at about the halfway point. The ending really went to some wild places. Whoa.Here are my more spoiler-y thoughts and questions:(view spoiler)[- Did the book every explain what D.A.D. and M.O.M. were acronyms for?- Did Richard and Marilyn factor hormones into their planning? Kids going through puberty have FEELINGS. And URGES. What about masturbation? Wouldn't that be a distraction from genius? How would they prevent sexual exploration between the boys? Wouldn't that be a distraction too?- Um, ex-cons as guards, inspectors, staff? Isn't that kind of a big leap of faith? How do they screen for predators? I'm not feeling a lot of confidence in their selection process.- What are the dogs for? - Are the kids raised without any lessons on basic morality? It seemed really easy for the girls to all turn into knife and ax-wielding killers.- Not a question, just a comment. Whoa -- that bloodbath at the end was crazy. I didn't expect that.- God, I want to know what happens next to all these kids! (hide spoiler)]I really have no idea how to categorize this book. It's not sci-fi exactly. It's not futuristic or dystopian -- it's clearly set in our world, just in a remote location controlled by some loony people. It's a little bit horror in some ways, and has some psychological terror/thriller elements, and quick a bit of mind-fuckery. So yeah, I don't quite know what to call this book -- but I do know that I had a great time reading it!
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  • Tammie
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most unique and original books I’ve ever read-a solid 5 stars. In Inspection, we learn that there are the Alphabet Boys-young boys being raised in a remote and controlled location. These boys know nothing of the outside world, including the knowledge of women. The basis of this “experiment” is so these boys become the world’s greatest thinkers (scientists, mathematicians, engineers and so on) without being subjected to the world’s daily distractions. When I started this book, I went i One of the most unique and original books I’ve ever read-a solid 5 stars. In Inspection, we learn that there are the Alphabet Boys-young boys being raised in a remote and controlled location. These boys know nothing of the outside world, including the knowledge of women. The basis of this “experiment” is so these boys become the world’s greatest thinkers (scientists, mathematicians, engineers and so on) without being subjected to the world’s daily distractions. When I started this book, I went in blind to the plot, so imagine my surprise when I learned about the Alphabet Girls! The same “experiment” being held 3 miles away. No spoilers here but things don’t go according to plan, especially when you have a large number of smart and inquisitive young adults around. I would highly recommend this book-it’s incredibly original, unique and very well-written. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Donna Backshall
    January 1, 1970
    Inspection is an original and unique coming of age story, so fresh and different from anything else I've read. It is a disturbing story about an experiment where children are raised in two separate oppressive and manipulative school environments, which segregate boys and girls to the extreme that they do not (and cannot) know the other sex even exists. We are introduced to the inner-workings of the stark boys' school through the odd and sort of distant views of various characters.I found it fasc Inspection is an original and unique coming of age story, so fresh and different from anything else I've read. It is a disturbing story about an experiment where children are raised in two separate oppressive and manipulative school environments, which segregate boys and girls to the extreme that they do not (and cannot) know the other sex even exists. We are introduced to the inner-workings of the stark boys' school through the odd and sort of distant views of various characters.I found it fascinating that the idea of any child figuring out the truth of their imprisonment would be considered "spoiled rotten". That somehow an administration pushing academics, as if they are all tiny Hawkings, would view the understanding of reality to ruin them utterly. Each child lives under the fear of being found spoiled, and facing the horror of The Corner.The entire book was tight and eerie, except for one point where we have pages and pages of a certain character's complete detachment from reality, which was hard to read. Not in a "wow, how awful for him" kind of way, but more in a "how fast can I swipe through this babble?" way.As expected, with the natural onset of puberty, the unnatural experiment the school represents has to fail. That's where this story gets real, where this extreme social experiment of parenting has to face the reality of nature vs. nurture, oppression, curiosity, and maybe even what it truly means to "spoil" a child. I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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  • Bill
    January 1, 1970
    Well...I tried. I really did. Nothing about this one clicked for me and I gave up 25% in which is way more than I should have gave it since I knew right away that this wasn't going to be my bag. DNF. Note: There was a time not so long ago that I would never DNF a book. I would slog on to the end and not enjoy it at all. Fuck that. Those days are gone. I don't have time for that anymore. This is my second Malerman DNF in a row and I just don't think this dude is for me.
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  • Raeleen Lemay
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like this book could have (and should have) been either a short story or a novella. It has a really interesting concept, but not a big enough idea to fill up an entire book, so this felt like mostly filler. Also, it barely qualifies as a horror novel, as it was tame (and even boring) for about 98% of the book. If you want something like Bird Box, this is not that book. This book is far more slow, far less suspenseful, but definitely unique in its concept and execution. (view spoiler)[ but I feel like this book could have (and should have) been either a short story or a novella. It has a really interesting concept, but not a big enough idea to fill up an entire book, so this felt like mostly filler. Also, it barely qualifies as a horror novel, as it was tame (and even boring) for about 98% of the book. If you want something like Bird Box, this is not that book. This book is far more slow, far less suspenseful, but definitely unique in its concept and execution. (view spoiler)[ but also how could MOM and DAD just assume that none of the kids would be queer? surely some of the boys & girls would have found distraction in their own Turrets. just ignoring that possibility was a gross oversight and frankly it's offensive that it wasn't even so much as mentioned in the narrative. dumb dumb dumb (hide spoiler)]
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  • Patricija - ReadOff
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so disappointed. I loved Bird Box so much, and this is nothing like that book. In fact, a complete opposite. Its long and sooooo slow paced. And not in a goof way where you at least got good developed characters. I read past approx. 50% (at the least, even more) and they still haven't met the other school, or anything interesting happened. There are too many books out there, waiting to be discovered so I'm not going to waste my time. I heard the ending is interesting and twisted, but man, it I'm so disappointed. I loved Bird Box so much, and this is nothing like that book. In fact, a complete opposite. Its long and sooooo slow paced. And not in a goof way where you at least got good developed characters. I read past approx. 50% (at the least, even more) and they still haven't met the other school, or anything interesting happened. There are too many books out there, waiting to be discovered so I'm not going to waste my time. I heard the ending is interesting and twisted, but man, it's not worth this hassle
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  • Aslı Dağlı
    January 1, 1970
    Bir ceviriyi daha bitirmis olmanin verdigi gurur ve mutluluk. Josh Malerman bu defa bir distopyayla karsimizda. Lakin o alisilageldik kiyamet sonrasi distopyalarindan degil Teftis. Su anda, yani basimizda vuku bulan bir distopya. Dunya icinde dunya. Acimasiz bir dunya. Bu kitap bir korku ya da gerilim romani degil. Lakin kendinizi karakterlerin yerlerine koydukca okurken gerileceginiz dogru. Ustelik kitabin benzetmelere dayali, kelime tekrarlariyla zenginlesen dilinin de bunda cok buyuk katkisi Bir ceviriyi daha bitirmis olmanin verdigi gurur ve mutluluk. Josh Malerman bu defa bir distopyayla karsimizda. Lakin o alisilageldik kiyamet sonrasi distopyalarindan degil Teftis. Su anda, yani basimizda vuku bulan bir distopya. Dunya icinde dunya. Acimasiz bir dunya. Bu kitap bir korku ya da gerilim romani degil. Lakin kendinizi karakterlerin yerlerine koydukca okurken gerileceginiz dogru. Ustelik kitabin benzetmelere dayali, kelime tekrarlariyla zenginlesen dilinin de bunda cok buyuk katkisi var. Pek cogunuz ilk 50 sayfada, "Ben ne okuyorum yahu!" diyebilir. Lakin Malerman bunu bile kitabin sonraki sayfalarinda bir cocugun agzindan cikan tek bir cumleyle aciga kavusturuyor.Kurguda gedik yok. Kitabin bir basi, bir de sonu var. Dahasi yuz sayfa once oylesine okuyup gectiginiz bir cumle 100 sayfa sonra size bambaska kapilar aciyor.Teftis yazarin her kitabinda, bambaska bir usluba ve konuya sahip olan Kafes'i aramayan okuyucunun ziyadesiyle sevecegini dusundugum bir roman. Ben sevdim. Cok sevdim. Uzun zamandir bir kitap cevirirken beynim boylesine yanmamisti.
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Bird Box in one sitting, I was desperate to get my hands on Josh Malerman's upcoming novel Inspection . In this upcoming tale, there's a tower in the middle of the woods in Michigan that is a home to twenty-six boys—all named after a letter of the alphabet. The facility is run by a man named Richard, known only as D.A.D. to the boys, and his support staff. The boys are being trained in science, math, and engineering—with art being used as a leisure activity. What the boys do not k After reading Bird Box in one sitting, I was desperate to get my hands on Josh Malerman's upcoming novel Inspection . In this upcoming tale, there's a tower in the middle of the woods in Michigan that is a home to twenty-six boys—all named after a letter of the alphabet. The facility is run by a man named Richard, known only as D.A.D. to the boys, and his support staff. The boys are being trained in science, math, and engineering—with art being used as a leisure activity. What the boys do not know anything about is: women and sexuality. There isn't one female in the school, and the boys have no idea what sex or reproduction is—their entire lives have been a lie. One of the boys, aptly named J, is an inquisitive twelve year old, starting to lose focus in Richard's vision of the school, and begins to question what their real purpose is. Richard is also starting to lose focus in his vision for this environment, as his real desire for control continues to grow.Unbeknownst to the boys, there's another facility relatively close by that houses a school for girls. Run by Marilyn, nicknamed M.O.M. The girls are being trained differently from the boys at D.A.D.'s school, but have zero knowledge of their existence. With both schools entering puberty, will D.A.D. and M.O.M.'s vision for the schools continue to flourish, or will it come crumbling down? While I enjoyed the originality of Inspection 's plot, I felt that it could've been darker. While Bird Box was genuinely frightening at times, Inspection really never got too dark or sinister for my liking. The case study on sexuality and manipulation between adults and children is very interesting and leads for an interesting discussion for me. I really can't go into what happens with the plot, but I'd love to talk to anyone who's read this book and see what their thoughts are. Inspection takes awhile to get into, and in the beginning you may even catch yourself saying WTF because initially, there's no background information about the setting. Keep going, I promise you it'll pick up and you'll be shocked at how the plot thickens. Malerman is just setting the stage up for one epic battle. Once you start narrowing in on the main characters at play, I noticed that I was really invested in both the the good guys and the bad ones ! The ending in Inspection wraps the story up nicely, and I was satisfied at how everything ended up playing out. It was unexpected (hallelujah!), and strong—solidifying my interest in Josh Malerman as a storyteller. As mentioned before, Inspection is definitely not as dark as you think it will be, so I definitely think those who squeamish or apprehensive about horror novels should consider picking this one up. Inspection will be released on March 19, by Del Rey Books, and this review was provided in exchange for an advanced copy.
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