Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Books I've Read: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

I picked this one because of the title.  And because I've been intrigued by the title ever since I first heard it last year.  Unfortunately, the book doesn't really live up to the title.

Aspen is part of a family who must perform regular rituals to keep the cliff towering over the family's hometown from crumbling and falling.  The ritual involves reaching into people and taking something away without their knowledge and offering it to the cliff.  In this way, the family have kept  the cliff upright, and the village safe for centuries.

But when you have the ability to take things from people, the temptation must always be there to do it at other times too.  To help them, or to help yourself.  Even when the cliff doesn't need repairing.

And this is where the book started making me uncomfortable.  Aspen has had a crush on a girl for a long time, but she's in love with his best friend, Theo.  All it takes is a little digging and Aspen finds the part of her that loves Theo and removes it.  Boom.  Break-up.

And it keeps happening.  Aspen is so insecure in his newfound relationship he keeps removing things from the poor girl to keep her focused on him.

So when Aspen makes some discoveries about his own past and the way his father has used his abilities on Aspen, I didn't really feel much sympathy for him.  Taking these person thoughts, ideas or even sobriety from people without their knowledge is creepy.  And that there are consequences is invitable.

So while I loved the title and the basic premise behind the novel, I can't say I recommend it entirely.  The ability this family has makes me uncomfortable on a moral level and the complete lack of recognition they seem to have of how insidiously creepy their actions are made this fall flat for me.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb.

Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.


  1. I can't believe the title. It's named after a joke about DnD made in a webcomic called Something Positive, where the DM got sick of the shenanigans the players were pulling and decided "rocks fall, everyone dies." I'm kind of disappointed that a book with such a creepy premise has it for a title.

  2. Shame it didn't live up to the title for you. But describing the protagonist as arrogant in the blurb isn't a great selling point either. I do like the basic idea behind the book though, there are possibilities there.

  3. Spoiler alert: John doesn't actually die at the end.