“Monday 30th January
This is what I know. I’m in a low ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete. It’s about twelve metres wide and eighteen metres long. A corridor runs down the middle of the building, with a smaller corridor leading off to a lift shaft just over halfway down. There are six little rooms along the main corridor, three on either side. They’re all the same size, three metres by five, and each one is furnished with an iron-framed bed, a hard-backed chair, and a bedside cabinet.”
Linus wakes on a wheelchair, in a lift shaft, looking out into a white corridor. He thinks he’s dead and the white light is The Light. Then he realises that no, he’s not dead, he’s in a bunker. With the lift being the only way in or out he explores the bunker, but he has no idea how he got there, other than it happened after he tried to help a blind man with his suitcase. For a few days Linus tries to make sense of it, he understands the processes of the bunker, the lights coming on, the lift coming down empty, the lift going back up and the lights going off. Then on the third day, the lift opens as normal, but this time its not empty.
I don’t know what I expected from The Bunker Diary, but I don’t think its quite what I got. I knew it would be brilliant, having read and loved some of Kevin Brooks’ other works, and it was. It was just unexpected.
I don’t want to give too much about the storyline away as I think most people should go into this book with no preconceptions. It was immense and very dark. There was philosophical thinking going on and its not a nice book, but its brilliant and moving and oh so terrifying. Linus awakes in this bunker and there are six bedrooms, six plates, six cups, six bowls. The whole place is set up for six, so he shouldn’t be surprised when another person turns up, but he is. As the story progresses more people turn up and they start trying to make sense of what is going on, how they got there, why them, etc.
Its an amazing story and I really liked the way you really get the feel for what Linus is going through. As its all told from his point of view you get into his mind and sometimes its a bit messed up, but he’s a very smart kid and most the time he has a sensible mind. There were a lot of things messing him up before he went into the Bunker and he reflects a lot on that when he’s in there. I also really liked the way the book was written as if it was Linus writing in his notebook, and the way he always referred to the man that took him as ‘The Man Upstairs’ and capitalised that, and the Him or He when talking about him, it was almost as if the man that took Linus was God or something – which is kind of what this man was doing anyway, playing God.
I loved some of the other characters in the book, especially Jenny, but others were awful and I just wanted them away from Linus. The way its all told in Linus voice makes you interpret things in certain ways but some things were hinted at by other characters and I felt that Linus didn’t really pick up on them. I think Anja was a bit misunderstood but didn’t deal with things in a very good way so I didn’t like her for that but felt sorry for her too.
I really did enjoy reading The Bunker Diary, however I expected to know a bit more about the guy who took Linus. I wanted to understand him better, I have questions still, after the book has finished, and I’m not sure I want to know the answers, but they are there. I was a bit disappointed, if I’m honest, with the way the book ended. It was powerful, just like the rest of it was, but I wanted more by the end.
I wouldn’t recommend this to a younger reader, for a more mature younger teen its perfect though and really tells of the perils of life. It kinda puts across a message about how messed up the world is and how you can’t be too careful with anything and I really liked it, but there are many readers out there who wouldn’t enjoy it, or get what its all about really.
The bunker Diary will be released on March 7th by Penguin. My copy was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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