Review | Burn Our Bodies Down
Author: Rory Powers
Genre: Horror, Young Adult, Fiction
Trigger Warning - Violence
Disclaimer – This book was read in the ARC* form. There may be some differences in this version than from what appears in other copies of this book.
Publication: July 2020
Growing up with a neglectful mother has always left Margot with the desire to learn more about her nonexistent family. When she finally has the opportunity to spend the summer with a grandmother she has never met before, she learns more about her family than she had ever imagined. A teen horror story that will make your hairs stand on end with a decades old mystery just now being uncovered, and a family secret that Margot's mother and grandmother, never anticipated telling her about.
In-Depth Review (contains spoilers)
I think it's an overall consensus that Josephine was a terrible mother. When things began to be revealed, I really thought that she would have a much better reasoning behind her behavior, but she never did. She was just a terrible person, even after what she went through. So it made sense that Margot was constantly striving for any other family that she may have had out there. but Vera ended up turning out even worse.
Two things that I guessed fairly early on was that Katherine was Josephine's twin sister and that Katherine was the dangerous one, not Josephine. It made sense that the clone, the unnatural one, would be not normal. Katherine seemed to struggle with humanity, which is something that all of the clones struggled with according to Vera. And Vera, being alone and left behind by Josephine. I really was convinced by her character that she would continue to live in that fantasy world that she created with the clones. If the curse or accident (or whatever you'd like to call it) hadn't spread or been revealed by Margot, Vera would probably have continued to live like that forever. Which is so extremely disturbing, but perfect character development for a horror book.
I wished more was done with the lines that would appear on the clones burned skin. I thought that was such an interesting concept and it was only brought up a handful of times without any real depth into why that happened or why it even mattered. There was so much that could have been explored there and yet it wasn't. Same with the fire. There was a little bit of bringing the fire back around with the initial fire in the field, the fire causing the lines to appear, and then Margot burning down the farm at the end, but from the title, I was under the impression that there was going to be so much more importance when it came to the fire. Similar to the importance of their appearances, but that played its part well. People can look very similar to each other due to genetics which is what Margot convinced herself when her looks was so much like Josephine's and Vera's, but the fact that there was so many of them with the exact same appearance pushed the boundaries of believable.
I also wished there was some adjustments made to the ending. Tess's entire family being killed was a bit much. It provided a clean ending with no problems wrapping things up. No one was left to ask questions or rise suspicions, but I felt that was too convenient. Yes, Vera was deranged and thought things would be safer with none of them left alive, but Margot should have at least a chance at saving her friend. The death of the clones was understandable, but not the death of Tess's family.
For those who are starting to get into the horror genre, this is a good start. So much is unsettling and not a situation you would like to find yourself in. You're constantly questioning and guessing as to what will be revealed and then creeped out once you find out the truth. Just what you would expect from this type of story.
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*ARC, or Advance Reading Copy, is a pre-published, nearly complete version of a new book that is given out before the official release date. The aim is to gain reviews that can coincide with the launching and to get booksellers interested in selling the book. It is normal for there to be changes from the ARC to the actual published copy since this form is an uncorrected proof.