That sense of collective female triumph is what makes Grady Hendrix’s new novel...such a great read. Hendrix...excels at writing horror humor ... His characters are funny and real, though at least one will definitely lose a limb at some point ... Though the final girls’ plight has all the scares of great horror fiction, there is an element of truth in their situation that will be recognizable to anyone who has experienced real trauma.
... savvy ... Final Girl indulges but doesn’t coast on nostalgia, and is itself a page-turning thriller with survival on the line ... While itself a wickedly entertaining page-turner that indulges readers’ appetites for slashers, Final Girl also smartly psychoanalyzes it ... It’s a thin and bloody line that separates horror fun from the truly horrific, and Grady has a lot of fun walking it as he writes his final girls a triumphant conclusion rarely afforded survivors in real life.
Every slasher film archetype and trope is featured here, and it’s great fun figuring out which Final Girl belongs to which franchise and how Hendrix will put his own spin on things ... Hendrix is that rare male author who does a phenomenal job writing female characters that feel truly real. We spend the bulk of the story in Lynette’s head, and it’s not always a comfortable place to be, but it is always authentic. Peppered throughout her narrative and blood-soaked trials is plenty of commentary on the evils of misogyny and the dangerous reality of existing in a world where violence against women is so normalized as to be expected, where it’s even turned into entertainment. And all of it is heavily seasoned with righteous feminist rage ... a solid thriller even outside of the slasher pastiches, with enough surprises, twists, and turns to keep the most jaded of readers off-kilter. Every time you think you’ve got it all figured out, Hendrix throws another monkey wrench—or machete, or shotgun blast—into the works...before it all comes to a screaming (and very satisfying) end ... Hendrix was already penciled onto my auto-read list, but now he’s earned the permanent marker.
... fiendishly meta ... Hendrix shares just enough about the other five survivors in the support group without getting too bogged down in backstory. By the second half of the novel, the story’s pace flies. Hendrix’s voice charms with irreverent wit while he skewers classic horror fans’ hunger for stories where violent men brutalize and murder women in a narrative ritual designed to excite us.
The wicked pleasure of Hendrix’s book comes from just how effectively he sets up the life-or-death stakes of Lynnette’s situation—and how clearly outmatched her and the other women seem to be. This means the tension and go-for-broke pacing never really let up ... Hendrix nicely conveys Lynnette’s panicky desperation and sense that she can’t trust anything or anyone she thought she knew, and he sustains urgency through a series of increasingly fraught sequences, en route to a showdown that both pays homage to the slashers that inspired this novel and offers a smart meta-twist ... That’s not to say everything about the novel works. Hendrix struggles in the early going to set the stage, with some clunky throat-clearing and telling, instead of showing, the themes of why we as a culture are fascinated by violence, and particularly violence against women. His attempts at tough talk can be dreadful ... Still, once the action gets going, these missteps fall by the wayside and the fast-paced excitement takes center stage ... more rewarding is the artfully arranged nature of the story. This is a fine reworking of a genre exercise: pulpy without feeling trashy, conventional without feeling unintelligent, and always geared toward delivering maximum enjoyment. It’s about time we had another good slasher beach read.
... a smart, self-aware narrative, one that does one of the cleanest jobs you’ll ever see in combining subversion of and affinity for the tropes of a genre. It embraces some of the basest impulses of the horror world and turns them on their head by endowing them with verisimilitude. It looks beyond the stories we’ve always seen, and by doing so uncovers a much deeper – and in some ways scarier – tale to be told ... Hendrix also isn’t afraid to get gory – an obvious must when telling a story like this – and he really leans into the fundamentals to great effect. And he juxtaposes that violence with moments of emotional engagement and dark humor, giving us a book that always keeps us just the slightest bit off-balance, as if we’re wandering a dark hallway or forest path and not entirely sure that we’re alone ... All that, plus it’s one hell of a good story, a propulsive narrative thoughtfully advanced and featuring some genuine and well-earned surprises ... a great concept well executed. Grady Hendrix shows himself to be a master craftsman here, bringing together an encyclopedic knowledge of and genuine affection for his blood-spattered inspiration to create something surprisingly thought-provoking, deftly funny and undeniably weird. Read this book.
... a white-knuckle ride, with plenty of gory thrills in store, but also a complex and fascinating examination of the titular trope and its misogynistic undertones ... The horror film references are so fun to see and really highlight the cultural touchstones, in order to ensure that the central conversation has a much larger impact ... This was a relentlessly tense and thought-provoking take on the Final Girl trope, using a multi-media format to engage in a conversation with the trope and its misogynistic undertones ... Hendrix gives these women far more nuance and agency than their on-screen counterparts may get and acknowledges the long-term effects their trauma would have on them ... It’s been a while since I read a straight up slasher novel, but this was pretty fantastic. Instantly, I knew I was in for a wild ride and Hendrix never let up ... Hendrix creates a truly heart-stopping and pulse-pounding atmosphere, thick with tension and suspense. This book is completely unrelenting, with the pace driving forwards and the stakes rising higher and higher. The twists and turns in store are genuinely shocking and you’re often left unsure as to who you can trust or what the truth is.
At times, Hendrix’s intricately plotted narrative can feel a bit too dense, as if readers are being dropped into the 10th installment of a movie franchise that everyone else already knows inside and out. Lynette and her fellow final girls are memorable and distinct, but their various backstories...can be hard to keep track of. That said, if and when readers abandon the expectation that they’ll ever know as much about these characters as Lynette (and, by extension, Hendrix) does, they’re in for a thrill ride that’s equal parts terrifying and satisfying, as the final girls refuse to be victimized anymore.
I must admit that I wasn’t too impressed with the characters at first ... As the story unfolds and their respective backstories are revealed, I realised that this dysfunctionality is intentional. From all of this unpleasantness, I found that I actually began to like them, or at least understand the reasons for their behaviour. By the end Grady manages to turn our opinion as readers, whilst he is building up the tension. More interestingly, the book raises interesting questions, as it examines the culture that got us to this point and the idea of how do you survive in a culture of social media and constant surveillance ... ans will appreciate them, but you don’t have to get the references to grasp the story ... Entertaining, engaging and fiendishly clever, The Final Girls Support Group is a book that will draw you in and keep you reading long after it has got dark. (Or at least it did me.) Fans of the horror genre will not be disappointed. An unreservedly recommended novel, which would be a great beach-holiday read for the Summer.
... an inspired novel of perseverance and female empowerment, with a healthy infusion of good humor and a splattering of gruesome nightmare fuel, as well ... Despite the different ways these women confront the agonies of their past and the dangers of their present, Hendrix consistently portrays them as inherently powerful. In the absence of hope and in the presence of unfathomable loss, they still fight on, and that capacity for hard-won courage defines them ... Harrowing escapes, cinematic reveals and grand set pieces carry the novel swiftly to its final showdown. Hendrix also makes dexterous use of a variety of mediums to further ratchet up the societal implications of this story, from doctor’s notes and article clippings to movie reviews and social media comments ... Upending the tropes and conventions of the slasher genre, Hendrix explores both the cycles of abuse committed against his protagonists and the ways in which an enabling media and bloodthirsty audiences further perpetuate these cycles as forms of morbid entertainment. Even as Hendrix skillfully delivers shocks and suspense, he cleverly questions why we want him to do so.
... I [was] disappointed by the presence of harmful stereotypes in what could have been a more inclusively feminist story ... Something about the way each of them coped with surviving trauma just really spoke to me. I was totally invested in them ... One place where characterization runs into serious trouble is with Adrienne. Adrienne, who is African American...is the first person to be killed in the book, which means that despite all the tropes this book subverts, The Black Dude Still Dies First. Adrienne is also supposedly fine with the fact that the character based on her in her film franchise is played by a White actress. Adrienne is a pragmatic person who loves raising money, but I still found it difficult to accept that she would be completely fine with her character being White-washed ... I think the book works better as a thought experiment than as an actual novel ... Feminist thought experiments about horror are catnip for me, and so are narratives about unabashedly triumphant survivors of male violence, so I ate Final Girl Suppport Group right up. However, I don’t think I would recommend it to someone with no interest in cultural or feminist criqutes of horror ... every time I re-read this book, I like it less. On the other hand, I have been re-reading it, something I don’t always do, and the first go-around was pure adrenaline for me. I’d say this is a VERY mileage-will-vary book, not only from person to person but also from read to read, and it has serious problems with representation.
The story is fast-paced, well plotted, and full of twists, and Lynnette is the perfect imperfect final girl, a heroine readers want to root for despite her flaws. Hendrix's writing truly shines in the details, such as chapter titles phrased as sequels to the novel; none of these sequels is real, but their presence in the book allows its final girls to leap off the page and into the world ... Hendrix presents yet another thought-provoking, fun, and chilling winner with perfect timing, as the slasher novel seems to be trending.
... entertaining, fast-paced, and darkly humorous ... This epic thrill ride reminiscent of R. L. Stine’s teen slashers is perfect for Christopher Moore’s fans and scream queen aficionados nostalgic for B-movie classics. Don’t be fooled by the gore and adrenaline rush, though. Hendrix delivers the right amount of jumps and scares while highlighting imperfect and human characters who forge indestructible friendships against all odds.
... a wildly entertaining romp through the conventions of horror’s slasher film subgenre ... Hendrix masterfully evokes the paranoid existences of his diverse cast in the aftermath of their traumatic ordeals, and he so explicitly details the massacres and fictional film sagas that grew out of them that readers may believe them to be real. The result is a wonderfully suspenseful and darkly comic novel that cleverly subverts popular culture. Horror fans will be wowed.
... this scary unraveling aims straight for the sheer terrors the best slasher films create ... skin-crawling ... Hendrix can be tongue-in-cheek...but is deadly serious here while still warping the conventions of the genre, including the fact that some of the survivors have participated in graphic horror flicks depicting their very real traumas. The book is creepy enough on its face, but Hendrix’s use of expedient narrative tools, including a laconic cowboy lawman, an overly eager journalist, and a host of archetypal serial killers, heightens the unease ... A bloody and grotesque but ultimately entertaining and inspiring take on horror movies, trauma, and self-determination.