Review - You Are Invited by Sarah A Denzil

Title: You Are Invited

Author: Sarah A Denzil

Publisher: Victory Editing

Release Date: 15th September 2020

Source: NetGalley

"There are those who claim the ghosts walking the corridors of Sfântul Mihail are not ghosts at all."
During a midnight journey snaking through the Carpathian Mountains, these are the words whispered to Cath Fenwick. It is the warning she will later wish she'd taken more seriously.
When Cath receives her invitation to The Event--a monetised retreat for social media influencers--she can't believe her luck. Irene Jobert is the most famous influencer in the world, and now Cath will be one of the five participants chosen to stay with Irene in a renovated Transylvanian monastery.
The catch? Their every move will be live-streamed to millions of people around the world. Patrons pay for constant access to their favourite social media stars: Irene, the model; Nathan, the gamer; Jules, the blogger; Daniel, the fitness guru; and Cath, the writer. 
Nestled halfway up a mountain, surrounded by forests teeming with nature, the five are isolated, with nothing but the internet to connect them to the world. That is, until eagle-eyed live-stream followers all around the globe notice a sixth participant. A dark figure lurking in the background. Who--or what--is in the monastery with them?
Wolves roam the nearby forests. Shadows haunt the long corridors of Sfântul Mihail. Slowly, five lonely people begin to lose their minds. You are invited to The Event. 


The world of social media to me is daunting and as a blogger just returned from a four year hiatus I can see the blogosphere has changed in those years and some of it I don’t like.  Influencers rule the roost and they have the power, sorry the influence to sell millions but at what cost?

You Are Invited caught my eye because reading through the lines of the synopsis it sounded like Big Brother with wolves and vampires in a haunted monastery in Romania.  Sold, where do I sign up?

Naturally there is more to it than that, a retreat has been set up in the Carpathian Mountains, an exclusive event that is invite only, hosted by über influencer Irene, a cancer survivor, model and all round amazing human.  She is joined by four others, Dan the fitness guru, Jules the blogger, Nathan the gamer and our protagonist Cath the writer, all young twenty somethings.

They will be staying for four weeks in a refurbished monastery, the building has a bloody past, one that Cath is haunted by.  Every move they make (with the exception of bedrooms/bathrooms) will be streamed to their adoring public, they are at their subscribers beck and call 24 hours a day and the more they do, the more they get paid as the whole event is monetised.

Sounds easy right, enjoy a peaceful break, make new friends, soak up the scenery, talk to subscribers, earn some money and in Cath’s case try to  fit in.  She struggles, not only because of the whole situation she finds herself in but she has Schizophrenia which she takes daily medication for. 

She finds her medication taken one day and from then on things starts to unravel.  Not just for Cath but for them all, they are complete strangers in a remote setting,  surrounded by bloody history and maybe something else, when their subscribers mention a sixth person in their videos things start to go south.  Are they alone?

I really enjoyed this books because the setting is well described, the dark mountains, the forests where wolves still prowl, the superstitions that make the locals nervous and the monastery itself sounds wonderful imposing.  The characters especially Irene are perfectly described, I can just picture her with a duck face pout on Instagram with a blue sea and golden beach behind her.

My knowledge of Schizophrenia is limited, the character of Cath and her mental health is dealt with in a way that you feel her confusion in wondering what is real and what is not, she struggles immensely but unlike the others she has a very loyal fan base who look out for her and are genuinely worried for her.

You Are Invited is a look at the darker side of social media influencers, what they are willing to do to be the best.  Who they are willing to destroy and who they are willing to betray.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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