The Grave by Christopher Pike

(No Series)


The grave is not the end of the story.

It begins with an innocent young man being led deep into the woods by a mysterious young lady. There he is attacked by a cruel cult, stripped of his clothes, thrown naked into a coffin, and buried alive to the sound of strange chants.

It continues with a pretty girl meeting a fascinating guy. A guy who is not like other guys. Who hardly seems to blink...or breathe, and who emits a cool presence even in the midday sun.

It ends in a nightmare. In a weird realm of existence where life and death mirror each other. Where the grave no longer promises any escape, from pleasure or pain.

The Grave is imaginative but not Pike's best. I have to admit I still don't get all of it - it starts like a horror novel where a boy trusts the wrong girl and suffers for it in the worst possible way, skips to a tension filled twist as points of view shift to another troubled teen girl, and then finally the ending is a unique sci-fi, what-the-hell-just-happened wrap-up. It starts as a horror novel but ends as something completely different.

There's nothing wrong enough to put a precise finger on, but the story doesn't fully grab attention. Characters are fine, and I enjoyed how Pike put a troubled girl's mother in a unique situation that's rarely seen in YA novels (drug addiction). A lot of teens go through it but it's rarely covered. Keri isn't my favorite lead as she seems a little too impulsive, but I suppose by the length of the book some things were kind of rushed into.

From start to finish, the book has this grim feel overcoating it, even in the strange ending where things are kind of good again. Pike can't be faulted for not having imagination, even if this isn't a favorite of mine. I didn't see the twist ending and what it signified; it's not possible to guess it. The explanation of how the beings came to be brings his interest in science to the forefront. There's a mini heady battle between the bad and the good, but it's not so much about their internal war as it is for waiting to see what happens, what the eventual big reveal will be.

Overall it's a worthy read for Pike fans - it explores some questions and possibilities about life after death and where things begin/end.

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