Review: “Rust: One,” Christopher Ruz

Pros: Interesting setup
Cons: Somewhat confusing
Rating: 4 out of 5

In Christopher Ruz’s Rust: One, Kimberly Archer is pushed in front of a train. When she wakes up, she’s living in the town of Rustwood. She’s married to a man she doesn’t recognize, and has a baby she’s sure she’s never carried–except that she has the cesarean scar to prove that she did. She’s sure she’s been kidnapped by her “husband” Peter, but Detective Jonathan Goodwell points out that she’s wearing a wedding ring and he even remembers her being checked into the hospital when she had her baby. Little bits and pieces of knowledge seem to come to her over time, but she’s absolutely certain she isn’t where she’s supposed to be. Only a ragged man named Fitch seems to believe her, and he wants her help to burn the whole thing down. But someone’s after Fitch–and something is after Kimberly.

The thing that mainly kept this from being a 5/5 work was the sense of confusion I was left with. I still don’t understand who’s on which side (there’s a “true queen” and a “false queen,” not that I have any idea of who either of them is). I feel like I’m supposed to know in some cases, but there was too much confusion. I’m also having trouble seeing how Fitch has managed to stay at large for as long as he has, given what he’s up against. What I’ve said so far probably makes it obvious that this book leaves off in the middle of things. I’m not honestly sure yet if I’m going to read the rest of the series. I have a long TBR list already, otherwise I probably would. But the desire to continue just isn’t that urgent.

Kimberly is a good, strong character. She doesn’t waver in her convictions, and she’s ready to do whatever she has to in order to get back to her life and her fiancĂ©. Whether that’s break free from a kidnapper or stick a knife in a horrific creature that wants to take her over, she manages, sometimes with help. It’s all too easy to understand Peter’s frustration–he seems to genuinely believe she’s his wife, and all of a sudden she’s treating him like a scary kidnapper. The situation is desperately understandable.

I do wish there’d been a few more clues as to what the deal was with the “true queen” and the “false queen”. I really don’t have anything other than those terms. Knowing a little more might have made me more eager to read follow-ons in order to learn more.

I think this would be an enjoyable read for almost any horror fan.

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