Book Reviews

{Review} THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, by Paul Tremblay

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Published by William Morrow on June 26, 2018
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Suspense, Thrillers & Suspense
Pages: 293
Format: Hardcover, eBook
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“A tremendous book―thought-provoking and terrifying, with tension that winds up like a chain. The Cabin at the End of the World is Tremblay’s personal best. It’s that good.” — Stephen King

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, by Paul Tremblay, is an intense, emotional novel of raw psychological horror. From the very first chapter, I was riveted and completely entranced by this novel. In terms of the storytelling, I honestly don’t think there was anything that could have increased the nail-biting tension I felt during this read. Once begun, there was simply NO place that “felt” like a good stopping point. I was compelled to keep turning those pages to see what would happen next.

“. . . What if it’s all real?”

We begin with a family on vacation at a secluded cabin near the sea. We have Eric, Andrew, and their adopted daughter, Wen. The love and strength of the bond within the family was so strong that any disruption to their lives was simply heartbreaking. Each was a so well fleshed-out, and their love for each other so complete, that I couldn’t help but feel this was the perfection of a family unit.

Then, come four strangers with a mission of their own . . .

“. . . Too many people have smiles that don’t mean what a smile is supposed to mean . . . “

Tremblay goes on to describe the scenes through the minds of the various characters. This helps to give them added individuality in the eyes of the reader. We learn the internal emotions, beliefs, and outward mannerisms of each and every participant.

I won’t go into any details of the action in the story itself, because this is simply a book that you need to read yourself in order to fully experience it. To give away anything that could potentially spoil this read even a fraction would be a huge disservice to the author.

Simply put, this book is THAT well written, in my opinion.

“. . . What he says has a hint of glee to it . . . the kind of joke that is only funny to the teller, which is the worst kind.”

Another thing I have to praise is that I never once felt that I could predict where this tale was going to take me. In “most” stories, I go on ahead, mentally anticipating the possible outcomes. In this novel, I was so caught up in the present moment that I simply kept reading to see where the path would lead.

“. . . we will walk the perilous roads . . . “

Overall, an exceptional tale that I never wanted to put down, so great was the build-up of suspense. The characterization was excellent all around, and this isolated cabin seemed the perfect setting for everything to come. My one, slight complaint, was that some of the individual character’s “viewpoints” that Tremblay alternated between got a bit too long, and slowed the pacing down in a couple of places. Obviously, not to the point of causing any major issue, in my view, and many readers may not find this the case for them at all. Still, this is now my personal favorite book by Paul Tremblay.

Highly recommended!

About Paul Tremblay

Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK and the World Fantasy Award nominated and Bram Stoker Award winning A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS has been option by Focus Features. He’s also the author of the novels The Little Sleep, No Sleep till Wonderland, Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye, and Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones).

He is the author of the short story collection In the Mean Time. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and numerous “year’s best” anthologies. He is the co-editor of four anthologies including Creatures: Thirty Years of Monster Stories (with John Langan). Paul is on the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards. He lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts, has a master’s degree in Mathematics, and has no uvula. You can find him online at He is represented by Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management.


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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