First Impression: The Bargaining was a riveting, if not a little slow paced, gothic novel. The atmosphere is fantastically creepy and Carly Anne West has done an excellent job. Nevertheless, I think the slow pacing kept this from getting four stars from me.
Review: I went into The Bargaining with not quite so high expectations after reading some GR reviews. I soon realised that was a mistake because The Bargaining is a generally good gothic novel. Penny has been through something traumatic, that much is obvious, and she’s trying to start fresh or at least that’s what everyone wants her to do, but she’s finding it hard to let go of the past. When she’s handed over to her father and step-mother because her mother doesn’t want to deal with her issues anymore, she’s subjected to spending the summer with April, her step-mother, in an old house in the middle of the woods. As you can guess, the house turns out to be more than just old and water damaged, it’s got a chilling past that involves several missing children, and the local boy Miller has more to do with it than she thought.
The Bargaining was a genuinely creepy novel and I think West wrote those scenes particularly well because they really did have the creepy factor. I didn’t really enjoy the “romance” between Miller and Penny, it seemed under developed and a bit forced, but I did like the role Miller played in the mystery and that ending had me a little psyched out. Penny was a good protagonist too, though there was nothing really special about her.
The best part of The Bargaining, and the reason I would recommend it, is the mystery and undeniable scary atmosphere, though be warned the pacing is slow.