The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village

The Lost Village
by Camilla Sten


340 Pages

Published by Minotaur Books (23rd March 2021 – first published 4th April 2019)

Purchase from | Booktopia | Book Depository | Fishpond AU* | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Actual rating of 4.5

Alice Lindstedt, a documentary film maker, has been obsessed with the story of The Lost Village for as long as she can remember. In 1959 her Grandmother’s whole family disappeared, along with the rest of the town, leaving behind a woman who was stoned to death in the town square, and a baby crying in the school nurse’s office. No one knows what befell the unfortunate townsfolk, but Alice is hoping she can find out. Together with a small group, she heads to the village to start filming for a documentary she hopes to make, while bringing to light what really happened there. Once they arrive and set up camp, however, strange things start to happen, people disappear and equipment is destroyed. It now seems that they’re not entirely alone. Alice came here looking for the truth, but what if the truth finds her first?

This was up there as one of my most anticipated reads. I’ve been dying to get my hands on it since I first came across it on Goodreads, but it proved quite difficult to find, until it wasn’t!! You better believe I did a little happy dance when this was on it’s way to me. I did have momentary fear that I may have ruined it for myself by being so excited (as has happened with a couple of my most anticipated reads this year), but thankfully this one didn’t disappoint.

I’m a sucker for a good spooky story, ones set against abandoned or strangely abandoned places are even better, so this one was right up my alley. Throw in a little isolation due to location, and I am one happy panda. This story is told through alternating chapters between present day from Alice’s point of view, and 1959 told from Alice’s Great Grandmother’s point of view in the time leading up to the event that caused the townsfolk to disappear. I absolutely loved reading both POVs which was a nice surprise. Normally when there’s dual POVs in a story, I tend to gravitate to one more than the other, this one however, I was completely engrossed in both stories, and I absolutely loved the delicious feelings of anticipation that bubbled up as the story moved towards the climax in both timelines.

Sten has done a great job of really placing the reader into a chilling atmosphere, doing a fantastic job of creating the feeling of total isolation in both the past and the present timelines, both of which are caused by different things. The slow decent into madness from the townsfolk in 1959 was so subtle and well written, the horror of it all just snuck up on me. Yes, I had a strong feeling about a couple of things that were going to happen, and I was right, this still didn’t take away from the story at all. I had no idea where the present story line was headed, and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised and got that reveal at the same time as the characters which was great. I also feel like the way the two timelines flowed together was brilliant. It was such a wonderfully executed story and I really feel like Sten did a fantastic job at weaving all the threads together.

The characters were wonderfully written and I really felt like I was right there with them. I enjoyed Alice’s character, her plights and her innate need to have this documentary be a success – even to the detriment of the others. She was a beautifully flawed character which really made her jump off the page. I also loved the backstory weaved between her and another member of her team. I was appalled at a certain revelation between Alice and yet another character, as it came out of the blue, though I feel like this was done intentionally so we could be just as thrown as Alice was in this particular scene. The characters from 1959 were so well written and I really adored them, even those that I absolutely hated. They were all so well written, especially the girl that Alice’s Great Grandmother cared for while in the village. I’m trying to be as vague as possible because I feel like it’s better going into this learning as you go.

One thing I was highly impressed with, was the fact that this book was actually translated into English. Had I not known that, I honestly don’t think I would have worked it out. It’s that well done. I’ve read very few translations, but it’s because I find them to be clunky and I feel like a certain magic is lost when the story is translated out of it’s original language. This one however, was done absolutely flawlessly and I applaud the translator for their skill, for reference, the translator is Alexandra Fleming.

All in all, this was such a fun romp through an abandoned village with a harrowing past. It really showed us horror in a different light, the horror of manipulation and the horror of people themselves and what they’re capable of. It really did live up to my expectations, and while the story was a bit different to what I WAS expecting, it was not disappointing at all, in fact, I feel like it ended up better. If you love a good horror that’s just a fun ride with creepy atmosphere and well written characters who are just trying to survive, give this one a go!

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