So I should probably start this by saying that I am not good at scary films or scary Buzzfeed articles or scary anything, in all honesty. I am what you might call a big fat wuss. But, I have always been oddly fascinated with these scary things, perhaps like a fear-fascination catch-22. You can often find me at midnight, reading those Buzzfeed articles entitled ‘The 20 Scariest Wikipedia Pages Ever’ and then not being able to sleep with the light off. However, I’ve never been a big film watcher in general, finding it hard to sit still and focus my attention for 2+ hours and so I decided to delve into the world of creepy horror books this October to fulfil my Spooky October Aesthetic need instead! I have around 5 posts planned, if I can read all of the books by the end of the month and I’ll post reviews of them on here once I’ve read them, as it’s about time I started getting a bit more spooky for Blogtober up in here.
So, first up, is Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. What a name!! Loosely described, this is a book about a creepy witch who has been haunting a part of a secluded American town since the 16th century., without the rest of the world ever knowing. It’s set in present-day America, which makes it even more spooky. Known as the Black Rock Witch (or Katherine), she had her eyes and mouth sewn together hundreds of years ago to stop her cursing the townsfolk with her ‘Evil Eye’. Her eyes and mouth must never be opened. A group of teenagers, disillusioned with the rules and regulations in Black Rock, start to push the boundaries of their world to see what could happen.
The creepiest thing about this witch is that she teleports all around the town, which allows Heuvelt to apply the tactic of literary jump-scares, which I think is just plain unfair. The first chapter, if you’re a wimp like me, will scare the bejeezus out of you. There’s also a moment nearer the end of the book where Katherine materialises in front of some poor person with the sole intention of terrorising them, which also creeped me out. Other than that though, Hex rarely relies on cheap scares or exaggeration. The plot-line is well thought out and the story-telling is rich and believable. I had to stop myself from reading it at night, as I knew it would scare me, but because of how much I was enjoying the book, this was a struggle in itself!
There are quite a few characters in Hex with similar names/roles in the community which I suspect could have been edited together, but this is perhaps a more personal niggle for me as I prefer books to have minimal central characters. Likewise, although the tension build-up through the book is phenomenal, the ending falls just a little flat of expectations. I’ll let you read it for yourself to see what you think though!
All in all, I’d massively recommend this as a good spooky Hallowe’en read. The pace and tension are brilliantly strong and Katherine is a believable yet terrifying character as the Black Rock Witch. Just maybe don’t do what I did and read the first chapter in bed late at night!
Are you reading any spooky books this October? Let me know your recommendations in the comments! See you tomorrow! P.