Jul 8, 2021

Review--#NoEscape by Gretchen McNeil


The #murder and mayhem continue in this prequel companion novel to the grisly, campy social media insanity that is #MurderTrending and #MurderFunding. Gretchen McNeil brings her signature wit and merciless kills to this gruesome yet hilarious, wildly topical young adult novel.

Twenty years before Dee Guerra and the Death Row Breakfast Club took down The Postman and Alcatraz 2.0, long before Becca survived The Juggernaut and Who Wants to Be a Painiac?, the murder games first began with the wildly popular "escape room" trend. Specifically, with Escape-Capades, Ltd.?

When seventeen-year-old Persey, along with five other teens, enters the latest escape room game, they're competing for a grand cash prize. But while most escape rooms are about teamwork and collaboration, this one is all about being cut-throat-literally. When contestants start being killed off, Persey must solve a series of bizarre and gruesome puzzles, riddles, and games to make it out alive. She uncovers secrets about each contestant along the way, learning they're all mysteriously related-and someone is out for vengeance.

Whether readers are new to the #MurderTrending sensation or hungrily back for more, this wickedly campy prequel companion novel delivers a read you won't want to escape.


#NoEscape is Gretchen McNeil’s backwards prequel to the #MurderTrending trilogy, meaning that it’s the third book of the trilogy but is meant to be a prequel. So you pretty much know my poor memory wasn’t able to make the connections to names in the end. I mean, I knew they’d come out but yeah, no recollections whatsoever. The burden of reading too much! Lol. But anyway, if you’re like me and can’t remember the first set of books, you’ll still do well enough to enjoy this book because it was just as creepy and freaky and awesome as its predecessors.

Persey is your average girl just wanting to find her place in the world. She’s had a rough family life—we get her history in sporadic flashback chapters that show she was just a young girl failing to live up to her perfect older brother. She was never good enough at anything in her father’s eyes and her mother was always too drunk to care. She decides to do an escape room one day just for fun and after solving one of the company’s renowned most difficult puzzles, she’s offered to take place in a championship tournament of other escape room champions.

If you are familiar with this series you pretty much know trouble is afoot and that not all of these contestants will make it out alive. Soon enough the eight young adults are thrown into the game without preparation and they must work together in order to solve the puzzles to reach the end, hopefully alive. For it’s not long into the game when the first victim falls and they won’t be the last.

This book was so good! The tension was so thick you could…well…you know! You never really knew what was going to happen. When the group walks into a seemingly innocuous room to solve a puzzle and then scary stuff starts happening…just whoa! I know I will likely never want to do an escape room after this! I don’t do good under pressure to begin with and I will forever remember this book now when I think of them!

There is a layer of mystery going on in this one that involves that previous owners of the escape room company that’s hosting this tournament. There’s a dark history there and things are slow to unravel and reveal themselves. We soon learn how each of these players were really chosen.

In the midst of all the terror and chaos, there did seem to be a bit of flirting and possible romance going on for Persey with Kevin and another player, Riot. There’s not a great deal of romance like in the previous books, but it’s just hints of it here and there, a touch, a look. It was sweet for the time being, but with how the previous books went, I know not to get too attached to anyone in this series. Sad, but true.

The ending was the ultimate shocker! I did not see this one coming and it did bring about an answer I had to something that happened earlier and whoa! Like freaking whoa! Of course it’s also here that I believe connections are being made to the first book of the series, but as I said, with a poor memory I can’t recall what names were being dropped and hinted at. I do know that it was pushing us towards #MurderTrending and I can be content with that!

If you have yet to start Gretchen’s fantastic slasher trilogy I would highly recommend starting with #NoEscape! For pure prequel reasons it will lend you a better idea of why things went off the way they did at the beginning. I am not a horror movie fan myself, but I did love these books to pieces! They were creepy and scary and all sorts of twisted! This book alone is enough to make your head spin in good old fashion fun! A must read for YA thriller readers!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars






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