In the small town of Gethsemane, Ohio, teenagers have begun to take their own lives. In fact, so many have done so that people begin to say that the town is infected with a “suicide virus” - a deadly plague whose source is rooted in sorrow and rage.
Stephen Wrigley, seventeen, is living in the tense environment created by the suicides. Already reeling from the death of his mother nearly two years before and trying to get used to living with his father Connor full-time, he seems to have an odd connection to those who become “infected” – he dreams their names before he learns of their deaths. He also has some insight into who – or what – might be causing such happenings: a sorrow-eater that he calls the Jacktheif.
Stephen meets and becomes attracted to Elise Devon, a girl at school who has her own secrets – secrets that can kill. She has her own connection to the Jackthief, and her connections to him – as well as her obsession with a place she calls the Obscura – may very well be the death of both of them.
Not horrible, but not great either, this book reminded me heavily of reading the Twilight series – this is not a favorable comparison. The book was almost overtly sexual – one of the girls is seduced by the appearance of the boy she likes, wanting to have sex; the Sorrow King is “born” because Stephen sleeps with a facsimile of Elise; Stephen is attacked at one point by a come-monster. I am not a prude but that last bit is what made me roll my eyes and pretty much decide to get through the book just to say I did it, because it felt far too much like throwing sex in just because it is “edgy” to do so. The premise was promising and the writing, though sketchy and Meyer-esque in parts, was mostly consistent, but the story fell flat for me and I didn’t find the main baddie terrifying in the least. Even the idea of a suicide virus lost its appeal. Things got a bit more interesting – if a little confusing – towards the end , but not really enough to save the book from becoming one of those that I will probably never pick up again.