Author: Thomas Olde Heuvelt
From the back: Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.
The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.
The gist: Alright. I don’t normally review books on here that I wouldn’t suggest you just goddamn go out and buy right now because your reading world is being sorely neglected unless you input this direct to your brain goddamn straight away.
But here’s an exception.
A good question, indeed…
As you ask; I love the concept of the book – the idea of a modern day witch story. The supernatural meets the digital age. The blurb makes the book sound like it’s going to be about how teenagers break free from a modern authoritarian government, whilst unwittingly releasing a magical curse. And to a degree, this book meets the brief. And there are genuinely page turning moments, and hair raising moments, and moments where you just can’t put it down because you want to know what happens next.
So I liked it…
…and it’s quite a big but…
…I’m not sure the title was right.
I’m thinking it should have been called something like:
or [INSERT MORE MENACING NIPPLAGE HERE AS REQUIRED].
I mean, I don’t consider myself particularly prudish, but there’s a point where an avalanche of unnecessary references to boobage just throws you out of the flow. It ruins the ambience. And then it makes you pick up on other things which you might just have let slide but now you’re thinking about nipples and WHY?
And I don’t want to critique it harshly, but now I’ve stopped to consider the nipples everywhere, I’ve noticed that all the characters are made of cardboard – and not just normal cardboard, annoyingly, irritatingly misogynistic cardboard. And I was enjoying it a minute ago.
So this is a weird review.
And I’m not saying don’t go ahead and read it. There were large parts that I really enjoyed, and I’m not sure how much has been lost in translation. But the extra boob action left it lacking for me, so enjoy at your own risk.
Favourite line: [Hijacked for this review by weirdest line] “At the low point of his stupor after Fletcher’s death – at half past one on Monday night – Tyler lay in bed, naked but for his underpants, his body covered with goose bumps and his nipples dark, hard nodules.” [‘Nodules’?! ‘Nodules’?!]
Read if: You want to read a genuinely quite spooky book but enjoy being interrupted by aggressive tit action.
Read with: This probably depends on whether you enjoy the spooky bits or the boob bits.
Get it: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt