Book Review – Dead Voices

Dead Voices
by Katherine Arden
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR ,2019)

At a Glance

Category/Genre(s):

Middle grade horror

Age Range:

10-12

Plot Summary:

“Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.

“Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.

“With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.” (source)

Strengths:

  • Fantastic voice and storytelling
  • Characters with heart
  • It’s actually spooky!

Full Review

I was so excited to read Dead Voices because I loved the first book, Small Spaces. There is just something about the voice in this series that is just wonderful. I read all sorts of horror novels and sometimes they just aren’t as beautifully written. I know when I pick up a book by Katherine Arden that the voice and cadence in the story will be spot on.

The premise so so much fun. I don’t know if it is because I’ve seen The Shining a thousand times, but the idea of an old empty ski lodge in the middle of a snow storm is super creepy. I enjoyed all of the twists and turns and the mystery involved.

And the story was actually creepy! I think it is a difficult thing to write a story where a scene is genuinely creepy but the language reigns that in and keeps the spook factor at an age appropriate level. And I love it when an author pulls it off. This is one of those types of books. The type where a kid shivers with delight while reading with a flashlight under the covers.

I also feel like the characters in this series have lots of heart. Arden does a great job of developing the emotional arc of her characters. You care whether they escape the ghosts but you also care about what is going on in their personal lives. I also like how we get two character POVs in this book. I would assume that the next book will give us the POV of Brian, who hasn’t had the spotlight yet. The only downside is that we have to wait until 2021 to know for sure.

Final Verdict

If you like spine-tingling stories and characters with lots of heart, this is the book for you!


Shop the book above and support me and local Indies:

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

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