Somehow Addictive AND Boring | Review: Out of the Attic by V.C. Andrews

6:30 AM

Clearly I've gone on a bit of an Andrew Neiderman and V.C. Andrews binge. The things that a simple pandemic quarantine will do to a girl, am I right or am I right? That's right, it's time for a review of Out of the Attic--the 10th book in the Dollanganger Saga.

Out of the Attic 
by V.C. Andrews
aka Andrew Neiderman 

“I will probably be clutching Flowers in the Attic in my gnarled hands on my deathbed.” —GILLIAN FLYNN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Sharp Objects

The twisted, beloved Dollanganger legend began two generations before Corrine Foxworth locked away her children in Flowers in the Attic. The second book in a new prequel story arc, Out of the Attic explores the Dollanganger family saga by traveling back decades to when the clan’s wicked destiny first took root.

Married to the handsome, wealthy Garland Foxworth following a wildfire romance, and an unexpected pregnancy, young Corrine Dixon finds her life very different from how she imagined it. Often alone in the mansion of Foxworth Hall, she can practically feel the ancestors’ judgment of her as insufficient—as not a Foxworth. Stern portraits glare at her from the walls, and the servants treat her strangely. Nothing in the vast place is truly hers.

Even her son, Malcolm Foxworth, born in the luxe Swan Room and instantly whisked away to a wet nurse, feels alien to her. With a husband alternately absent and possessively close, Corrine doesn’t yet realize that she’s barely scratched the surface of what lies beneath Foxworth Hall’s dark facade and the family that guards its legacies.

With the fortieth anniversary celebration of Flowers in the Attic, and ten new Lifetime movies in the past five years, there has never been a better time to experience the forbidden world of V.C. Andrews.

Out of the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Rating: ☆☆☆

So, about Out of the Attic: nope. Andrew Neiderman is back at it with the mediocrity. Out of the Attic, like its predecessor, is a highly unnecessary prequel novel. It lacks the usual melodramatic spark and twisted, thorny, tangles of the original series and resembles very little of the picture we'd been painted previously. While I'm all for the historical aspects of Out of the Attic, this, like Beneath the Attic, felt dreadfully dull and more than a little incoherent. 

All progress that was made in improving upon the recent Dollanganger novels with Beneath the Attic was pushed straight out the window. Out of the Attic is, to put it bluntly, just as bad as Secret Brother and the Christopher's Diary books. There was potential for this series to get back on track, but we did about a dozen steps backward with this one. (If only we were given a well-written book series set in the Dollanganger verse about Cindy Sheffield and Bart Foxworth Jr. Sigh.)

Somehow, despite its boring tone and morally gray plotlines, Out of the Attic has an addictive quality to it. It's so bad, you can't look away from it even if you so desperately want to. This is the V.C. Andrews brand, of course. No matter how watered down, recycled, or unnecessary this series feels, it still had that signature cringe-and-focus feeling. 

All eyes on V.C., right?

Here's the thing: Neiderman lacks his occasionally compulsive and disturbing tone. Once, he was able to tap into something that felt distinctly like V.C. Andrews. He was never her, but there was a time where he served something more to the table. Now? Not so much. 

Sure, Out of the Attic has its share of twisted plotlines but it's not quite there. It doesn't live up to the Andrews name. It feels like with every passing release, he drifts further and further from Andrews. At some point, we should retire the name. Or hire someone else to produce content. 

At this point, so much of these new novels relies on the original story in a way that leaves readers scratching their heads. It is a mess. Out of the Attic (and, indeed, Beneath the Attic) have misleading titles and truly bring nothing extraordinary to the series. 

Further, Neiderman continues to ramble down the path of tell-not-show. There is absolutely no build or growth in the characters; no development, virtually no backstories, etc. You get pieces of someone, of what makes them tick, but it's not enough.

While the historical accuracy appears slightly better in Out of the Attic, there's still a lot of sloppy and out of place dialogue to be read. I just can't buy what Neiderman is selling. The problem with Out of the Attic is simple: it shouldn't exist. There was a fairly large chance to improve upon the plotlines and create something enthralling, problematic, and electric, but Neiderman misses the mark.

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