Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, 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. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.
What a devilishly good novel about a haunting in the small town of Black Spring. On the outside, Black Spring seems to be nothing more than your ordinary town, filled with homes, shops, and families. That could not be further from the truth, however, as Black Spring has a dark secret. Lurking around corners, walking down sidewalks, and taking space in your home is Rebecca, a seventeenth-century witch whose curse haunts this town. Unable to ever leave without the looming doom of wanting to commit suicide, the residents of this town have devised a plan to keep their secret safe from the outside world. Their town has been able to keep the peace until a group of boys decides to start messing with the witch, leading to a snowball effect that leads to unspeakable measures and the most horrifying act of all, the opening of the witch’s eyes and mouth.
I went into this a skeptic, do not get me wrong, I love a good novel about a witch, but so many come out being the same. That was not the case with Hex, such an original telling of a classic trope, hauntings. One of my favorite things about this novel is the spin Heuvelt threw on hauntings. Instead of a haunted house or person, he gave us a whole haunted town! The mere premise of this novel is enough to keep you up at night. It was such a simple idea yet packed such a punch of horror on every page. The witch Rebecca was detailed, creepy, and downright terrifying. The mannerisms that Heuvelt gave her were the thing of nightmares. What we got was a scary visual and a witch that would pop-up in the most unexpected places . . . the foot of your bed, the corner of your home, the aisle of the grocery store, or even under the streetlight.
The witch herself was not the only character that could make you scream the young group of boys who spent their time terrorizing the quiet witch were nightmares in the eyes of many parents. Not all the young boys were monsters, but there was one who provoked, abused, and tortured Rebecca up until a brutal ending. The parents and other members of this town all came with their uncommon ways of life, doing their best to live an unconventional life.
Overall, this novel is a creep-fest. I would not call this scary, gory, or horrifying when compared to other horror novels. However, this one got under my skin leaving me with the need to double-check my house to make sure Rebecca was not lurking around the corner. Complete with grand writing, developed characters, and a spine-chilling witch this is a total package when it comes to the horror genre. It was new, fresh, creepy, dark, and daring. Heuvelt gave the haunting trope a brand-new feel and I am here for it. The only downfall here is that I cannot dive deeper into this review without giving away spoilers.
If you are looking for a book to add to your Halloween Book List, a haunting trope, or something new to the horror genre, check this novel out! The scariest thing about this novel is the reality of it, how easy it would be for a town to become cursed while the world around it never knew. Not needing gore or extreme horror to bring on the goosebumps, this is a must-read for all horror fans out there. Keep your lights on.
PUBLISHED: April 2013
GENRE: Adult Fiction – Horror
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