Review: The Mall by S.L. Grey

I wrote this review about two years ago. I’m reposting it because I’m planning on getting started with their second book (S.L. Grey is the pen name of science fiction duo extraordinaire Louis Greenberg and Sarah Lotz), The Ward.

Shop until you drop

The Mall by S.L. GreyDrugs, kids and shopping malls – a sure recipe for disaster. And yet, that is not the worst of it.

Dan is forced to help Rhoda look for her missing charge. Rhoda herself isn’t keen on the emo boy’s company but needs the help of someone who knows the mall – and isn’t security. Her fearlessness may be a drug-fuelled façade, but with very little to lose except a place to crash at night, she drags Dan to the hallways behind the stores’ staff entrances to look for a child whose name she can’t even remember.

As they explore the maze that is the secret underbelly of The Mall, hidden from consumers and far from shiny neon-lit displays, their survival instinct is pushed to the limit; not only by Management, who seem to have way better connection/reception than cellphone service providers on the surface, but also a couple of strange creatures.

They soon realise that they are part of a game of which they don’t know the rules or the outcome. Through the obstacle course of dismembered store mannequins, half-built and (seemingly) desolate food courts, sewers and temperamental elevators with really bad tunes, they finally make it back to The Mall. But everything seems a little off. A little darker. A little disfigured. The good news is The Mall is always open. The bad news is it isn’t open to everyone in the same way. It balances in counterbalance to the ‘real’ world, but as soon as they find their bearings, Dan and Rhoda figure out how they fit in. And things go really well until they remember they’re actually looking for an out.

The Mall by SL Grey is a read that will have you on the edge of your seat and your nails bitten to the quick. Just as you think you know what’s around the next corner, it turns out to be a dead-end. With more twists than a tangled Kreepy-hose, the best advice I can give you (aside from that you have to read this book) is that you should not read it before bedtime. Trust me, I speak from experience.

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