Review: The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

Title: The Bunker Diary
Author: Kevin Brooks
Publication date: 7 March 2013
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780141326122
Length: 246 pages
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Won
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

I can’t believe I fell for it.

It was still dark when I woke up this morning. As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was. A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete. There are six little rooms along the main corridor. There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out. What’s he going to do to me? What am I going to do?

If I’m right, the lift will come down in five minutes.

It did. Only this time it wasn’t empty…

My thoughts

Have you ever read a book that completely broke your heart but you still loved every second of it? That’s how I felt about The Bunker Diary. It’s sad, it’s cruel, it’s chilling, but it’s so beautiful at times.

The idea behind the story reminded me a little of the Saw movies. Random people thrown into an empty building and being surrounded by security cameras everywhere they go. They’re pieces in a sick mastermind’s even sicker game and we have no idea why or what they might have done to deserve this. The Bunker Diary is something very similar. A young guy – our main character and narrator – called Linus is kidnapped and wakes up in an underground bunker. And then day by day, six other people arrive. They don’t know each other, they have nothing in common, and they have no idea why they’re held captive. All they know is that their captor’s cameras follow their every step twenty-four hours a day and their conversations are being tapped. And that’s it.

How do you get out of such a place? How do you survive? How on earth did you end up there, anyway?

Needless to say, the book is just impossible to put down. I literally read it in one sitting, biting my nails all the way to the end. I had no idea how they would get out of there or why they were kidnapped in the first place and I was desperately looking for answers. And when it all came to an end, I didn’t know what to think. I was waiting for an explanation, a neatly wrapped up story and what I got was its exact opposite. Nothing’s explained and nothing’s wrapped up. Linus’s last diary entry (which made me cry buckets) is very clear and straightforward in terms of the group and their chances of survival but we don’t know anything about their killer and his motives.

This ending really bugged me at first but despite being left in the dark, it’s kind of beautiful in its own way. And so is Linus’s and Jenny’s friendship, which was one of my favourite things about this story. I just loved how a guy who’s been trying to find a meaning in life for such a long time and never really had a loving family finds a true friend under the worst circumstances one can imagine. It’s such a beautiful element in an otherwise chilling and gruesome story.

Although I would have loved to have answers to all those questions that are going through your head when you’re reading the story, I still found it utterly brilliant. Linus and Jenny will no doubt stay with me for a long time and when I feel strong enough I will definitely read their story again. If you’re not easily offended and you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, do pick it up. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to love it.


5 star rating


    • says

      I really need to check out that book! I’m not sure if it can top The Bunker Diary because it’s one hell of a story but I loved the author’s style.

  1. Claris says

    The ending most definitely has to be talked about. It made me want to cry, sure, but it also angered me. What was the kidnapper’s intention? Who was he? We don’t find out any of it, and I think that’s what stopped The Bunker Diary from being purely perfect.

    • says

      Yes, that’s what I initially thought as well. I wanted to find out who he was and why the hell he did all this so not having an answer was a bit of a disappointment. But I loved the book on the whole so much that in the end, I just didn’t care. I still want to know what happened but I think it’s a beautiful(ly creepy) story.

  2. Taz says

    I read this book as part of a Year 8 Carnegie book group at school. I absolutely loved it. It’s sick, twisted and dark, but it’s a wonderfully fast-paced book. The way it’s told is genius; we’re left guessing and we’re never told too much. This is an amazing review. It’s very well written and sums up the book perfectly without giving away too much.


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