Don’t Breathe a Word is the third Jennifer McMahon book I’ve read. I loved Promise Not to Tell and was highly disappointed by Dismantled. So, this really could’ve gone either way for me. Not only because of my previous thoughts on her book, but also because I’ve been going through a bit of a reading slump lately, so it’s been taking a lot longer than usual for me to be impressed by a book. Luckily for everyone involved, I loved Don’t Breathe a Word (and am completely cured from my reading slump).
Don’t Breathe a Word is a novel that is VERY hard to classify because it has a little bit of everything. It’s a mix of horror, fantasy, psychological thriller, fairy-tale, and so many more things. Usually when an author throws everything but the kitchen sink in a book I get annoyed because very rarely is it done well. But in this book, it was done extremely well. I enjoyed all of the elements embedded in it and it didn’t make the book seem like the author couldn’t choose which direction she wanted to go in and just decided ‘to hell with it’. While all of those genres are my favorites, I definitely enjoyed the horror and the psychological thriller aspects of it.
This novel is creepy. Seriously, chill up your spine type of creepy. The weird thing is that Don’t Breathe a Word didn’t affect me when it got all dark and shadow-like at night, but it freaked me out during the daytime. I was alone in the house and getting a pen from my bedroom when I heard this huge, house-shaking type of grumbling sound. My first irrational thought was “Oh my God, it’s Teilo, the King of the Fairies.” I kid you not. I think I was so creeped out because we’re taught as little kids that fairies are these cute, sweet, yet somewhat mischievious magical creatures (Tinkerbell, anyone?). Yet in this book, they seem very malevolent and for some reason, that scared the hell out of me.
However, my absolute favorite part of the book (in that whole “what the hell? Can this be more disturbing?!” kind of way) were the family dynamics between all of the characters. It was seriously twisted. So much that I had no idea what the hell was going on most of the time and what imagined was not even half as bad as what actually occurred. In fact, that may have been more creepy than the evil fairies.
All in all, I highly recommend Don’t Breathe a Word. It’s creepy, twisted, unpredictable (and this is coming from someone who tends to predict everything that happens in these types of novels), and one hell of a page-turner. If you’re going through a particular brutal reading slump, pick this up. If you’re not going through a particular brutal reading slump, pick it up anyway. You won’t be disappointed.