Author Stephen Chbosky
This is the spoiler free review for Imaginary Friend, a horror novel by Stephen Chbosky. If you would like to read the spoiler full version, and there’s a lot to spoil, please visit here.
Imaginary Friend is about a young boy who starts hearing voices. From here, Christopher gets lured into a strange world of dark magic and more power than he ever dreamed of having.
The first third of the book is solid supernatural horror. It’s creepy, it’s mysterious, and it’s intriguing.
Unfortunately, by the end the supernatural is all explained by traditional Christianity and it’s ruined.
Imaginary Friend has some wonderfully unnerving scenes throughout and truly does delivers on the horror. Where it fails is attributing the horror to the devil. It’s such a cop out!
The book becomes preachy about good vs. evil and dissolves into religious tropes involving virgin births and martyrdom. It also contains specific references to Christian mythology but does not build them up enough to mean anything new or special.
With a page length of over 700 pages this became extremely tiresome to me by the end. I do not care to read religious fiction of any kind and I felt tricked into it. By the twist at the end, which is another issue entirely, I was completely bored by the whole mythos.
That’s just my opinion, you may fall into the target audience for Christian horror. If you do, go for this book, you might really love it. But it’s not for me.
The book is well written as far as style and pacing goes. Additionally, there are some wonderfully disturbing images and scenes which is exactly what a horror novel should deliver.
The main characters are also delightful. Christopher is endearing and is mom is incredible. She’s an admirable balance of responsible and badass which is something I’d love to see more for female protagonists.
Chbosky does a good job of attributing complete personalities to even small characters in the book. The only character that becomes completely trite is Mary, the virgin babysitter who begins all of the religiosity in the book.
I would have loved to see this book written with a different ending. The first part of the book really captured me but my opinion changed strongly by the halfway mark. It was still well written and I still liked most of the characters but by the big twist reveal I had stopped caring about what the outcome would be.
If you are the type of reader who would be interested in the niche genre of Christian American horror then this is definitely for you. If that doesn’t sound like you you’ll probably also find it just meh.
3/5 mean deer 🦌🦌🦌
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Buy it here: Imaginary Friend