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Publisher's Summary

Seventeen-year-old Daphne Janus travels with her best friend to an island off the coast of California where she thinks she's trying out a new resort before its grand opening. Soon she's told that her parents have sent her there to undergo a new experimental therapy for suicidal people designed to terrify patients into fighting for their lives. Daphne doesn't know what to believe; she just wants off the island.

©2013 Eva Pohler (P)2014 Eva Pohler and Courtney Bell

What listeners say about The Purgatorium, Volume 1

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This is a Psychological thriller alright!

At first glance this is a story about a boy taking his best friend on a trip after she has suffered the loss of her sister and finally is able to “come out of hiding”, sort of speak. But the island soon begins to harbor some strange things. At first, those things are weird but they kind of become dangerous and Daphne soon finds herself struggling to keep her sanity.

Especially the last part was a series of “wtf” moments because I had failed to read the part where it’s mentioned that her parents had send her here in a last-ditch effort to save her life. But even with that knowledge in mind, the wtf moments might be a little bit less because of course that revelation in the story wouldn’t be new but there are other such moments as well. This is one of those books that needed to simmer in my head for a bit after finishing to be able to find the words to write down how I felt about it.
I have to be honest here, at some points the main character did not seem like a strong character and her “what is going on” moments where sometimes on the verge of pathetic (never annoying, thank goodness but on the verge of pathetic nontheless) but those are the moments we have to keep in mind that this is a broken soul. I don’t have a sister, but if my brother was taken, I’d be broken too. As strong as I would’ve ever been able to be in other circumstances, I’d be a mere shell of my former self if I lost my sibling. So I think it is admirable that the author chose to portray Daphne’s wonky self further along the story instead of providing her readers with an uncharacteristically strong female lead that doesn’t appear to be too shaken up after all these events.
I do wonder how the big final twist has come about. That change inside Daphne... I don’t know what to make of it to be honest. But that doesn’t take away from the eager curiosity I still feel to know what happens next so I for one most definitely want to keep on with this series!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Purgatorium

A fantastic read that pulled me in right from the beginning. Daphne travels with her friend to an Island to try out a new resort, but she gets more than she is bargaining for. This read takes you for quite the adventure with twists and turns. The Narrator did a great job with the characters voices. And the Author has done a fantastic job at bringing this read to fruition. The scenes are written so well I could picture them in my mind. I definitely recommend this listen.
Shauna Joesten

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Blurs the line between help and harm

This is the first book in a series of three YA psychological thrillers. Daphne is suffering from survivors’ guilt and severe depression. She is tricked into going to an island that is run by Dr. Grey, who uses dubious experimental methods to “cure” the people sent there.
This is definitely a creepy and somewhat dark story that questions where the line between helping and harming should be drawn. Therapeutic games that have shades of the 1960s Milgram experiments, betrayal, manipulation, deception, danger and tragedy all run riot in this story. Your heart breaks for Daphne and the heavy psychological load she has placed on herself. Her loss, fear and devastation come through well in this story and the twistedness of the plot leaves you stunned. The narrator, Coco Bell, portrayed Daphne well, giving the feeling of youth and making the characters distinguishable, but I would have liked her to have created a little more tension with her voice than she did. This is a well written, thriller that will keep you off balance and surprise you at the end.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, can’t wait to listen to the rest

This book was well written. I liked the narrator also. She changed her voice to distinguish stern the different characters. I don’t want to leave any spoilers but it was a great story. Kept me guessing what was going to happen.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Enter at your own risk.

It was hard to star rate this novel. There were great story aspects but some technical issues that drug it down for me
Daphne heads to an island for a therapeutic vacation. Her parents are worried about her because of a suicide attempt. They hope that the methods at this resort will help Daphne find the will to leave. But no one expected just what happened.
The book has basic sentence structure and nothing very advanced. This is good for the dialogue of the 17 year old but outside of that, makes it hard to truly dig in. This is compounded because the narrator wasnt right for this book. She did not care the spookiness or suspense needed.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. As soon as I heard Milgram Experiment, I knew I was in for a psychological treat. The ending crescendos in things that are both absurd but cathartic. Seeing Daphne wanting to live again was worth it all.
Trigger Warnings are needed here. There is much tall about murder, suicide, mental illness and deep fears. I suggest this book only if you are in a good enough place to deal with these issues.
I receive a copy from the author for review; all opinions are my own.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Chilling and serious

This book kept me on the edge, I wasn't sure which way the story would go. It was a bit serious and dealt with very serious topics.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love the story!

I LOVED this story! It was so interesting, and it really had me guessing the whole time what was real and what was a game. I really had no idea! I also really liked the narrator. She had such a great voice for the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Strange, but I enjoyed it

That was strange and a bit creepy but overall I enjoyed it! The narrator sounded like the girl next door which was appropriate for the main character. She kind of sounded like she decided to start narrating books and bought a $30 microphone and did it, but honestly I prefer that over these over professional nearly robot narrators that are so common. She sounded real!
As to the story, it kept moving and you’re always on your toes. I liked how the author dripped out the backstory. The ending was disappointing though.
***scroll down for mild spoiler alert vent session on the ending***




I mean does everyone in the world have to be a backstabbing liar? It seems to me like it would be hard enough for a person without major issues to go through such an ordeal and come out on the other side. But she’s suicidal already, does everyone have to be in on the scheme? And to add to the ending disappointment, terrorizing others - even if they were the cause of harm - would not be healing. Unfortunately human nature makes us want to hurt others who hurt us, but it never fixes our internal pain.
None of this will make sense if you haven’t listened or read the story- I guess I just needed to vent real quick

  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creepy

What a creepy story.

What starts as a resort getaway turns into a fight for her life where no one can be trusted.

Daphne has experienced deep tragedy in her life and sunk into life-threatening depression. In an effort to get her well again Daphne's parents send her to an experimental therapeutic program on a mostly deserted island. Nothing could possibly go wrong with experimental therapy, right?!

Daphne quickly learns she can't trust anyone, not even her best friend. She is repeatedly told that the therapeutic games are designed to help her, but they seem to do nothing but put her in danger.

As Daphne runs for her life, she's forced to face all the tragedy that brought her to the island in the first place. And, between the weight of her past and the danger of her present, it's anyone's guess if she will be able to survive.

Good for people who like psychological thrillers.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thriller!!

Audio:
There was a undercurrent and mild static that I found very distracting. After a hour of listening I remembered that I can upload a better quality of audio. I deleted previous standard file and uploaded a higher quality file of the same audiobook to see if that would help with the undercurrent and mild static and I found that it did help. So I would recommend downloading the high quality file. You can make that change in your app via the settings tab.
Once I downloaded a high quality file I found myself enjoying the narrator. I thought the narrator was decent and portrayed the main character well.

Story:
Overall the protagonist was very angst and dark...there is talk about suicidal thoughts along with attempt at it. So just beware of that. The more I listened the more I got to see how the narrator thoughts slowly changed. This book is certainly a thriller and I was only able to listen to it during the day. It creeped me out but in a good way. 😂

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • durhamgirl23
  • 12-25-20

Boring narration

I may have enjoyed this story but who knows - the reading is so dreadfully dull I just can’t listen any more- that’ll teach me to listen to a sample before I buy!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • T
  • 04-14-20

Twists, turns and just wow

Loved this book.
Not my normal read but I am glad I read this. I found this to be a book I couldn’t put down. It has good characters that you feel part of.
Great storyline that absolutely begs you to imagine. Twists and turns galore.
Fantastic storyline, narration and overall a great book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam JP
  • 02-16-20

I’m probably not the intended audience

From what I understand, Eva Pohler has several books across multiple series, none of which I will be reading.

I’ll preface this review stating that I am not the target audience of this book. I am a 30 y/o male looking to broaden my reading into other genres and I came across The Purgatorium on Bookbub. I should also warn there are

**SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW**

I felt the story itself lacked depth. The foreshadowing early on was a bit heavy and pretty much gave the game away for me, causing the book to drag.

The author seemed to plainly state what was happening throughout, rather than evoking the story through the characters. This caused everything to seem a little two dimensional. Also, the characters often made decisions I didn’t feel would be smart options in real life. All this combined with a generic and linear timeline, the story just didn’t pull me in.

My main gripe was the turning point. While I have never been a suicidal teenage girl, I have suffered with depression and mental health issues. I found it a little insulting that everything started to get better for the main character once she got back with her ex. It could have been handled a little better and made the character seem reluctant throughout rather than taking matters into her own hands.

The performance wasn’t too bad but there were obvious cuts where the audio must have been edited in post. There were also a couple of points where the narrator tripped on certain phrasing but I think these were due to issues in the writing.

All that said, the story built the main characters back story well and effectively portrayed her survivor’s guilt. Her mixed feelings about intimate moments with the boys and her experience of romance following a hard breakup we’re well played.

This was not the story or character perspective for me but it may speak to a different audience.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • AS
  • 09-16-19

Good Story, Nice Narration

I liked this book. It was interesting, and sometimes exciting. I didn’t read the blurb before listening, so it’s kind of funny to see it now. I think it may give away too much, and doesn’t *exactly* fit how it all unfolds. Not a big deal, though. I listened to a terrible book right before this one, so I’d like to point out that the Purgatorium is very competently written. There are no problems with grammar or pacing or repetition, etc, etc. I can’t really say anything about the story without spoilers, so I’ll just say it keeps you guessing until the end, and I would describe it as a psychological adventure. There were one or two minor, like super tiny things that happened that I didn’t think were completely realistic, like characters seeing a face at the window, being scared, and then were like, well, let’s go to sleep. I could never sleep in that situation, but I am old, so maybe I react differently? Lol, anyway, like I said, I like this book, and I’m happy to see it’s not a one off, but there are more in the series. I’m happy to try other books from this author. The narration was good, sounded just like a teenager. If you’re curious about this book, definitely give it a listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lotty
  • 08-07-19

Emotional story

This is a great, fast paced story that really takes your emotions for a ride. The narrator brings this story to life.