Something unspeakable is murdering the townspeople of Millingham and only seventeen-year-old LysanderShore knows what it is. A dark shadow that possesses its victims and forces them into grizzly acts of suicide. Lysander knows because he has seen it and he’s pretty sure it saw him too. Now he can’t shake the eerie feeling he’s being watched. And when his friends and neighbors begin to die under mysterious circumstances, he knows his only hope is to uncover what the shadow wants. Lysander’s frantic search for answers leads him to a dark secret. One that traces back to a witch’s brutal torture and execution 350 years before. A secret about himself Lysander never knew. A secret he desperately wishes he could forget.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS ****
This was a book that, after starting it, I simply did not want to put it down. The story was really interesting and only got more intriguing and imaginative as the novel progressed. I was impressed by the twists and turns that sprung up in different places throughout the novel but, on top of it all, I was more intrigued and interested in the idea and message behind the novel. It was such a unique topic and I found myself marvelling at the idea and just loving the imagination behind it all.
I’m trying to sound vague so as to avoid spoilers, but I just found it really thought-provoking and that is definitely a good thing to get from a book. It was, in spite of this, an easy read that only got confusing towards the end as it was hard to tell who was who but it all righted itself quickly enough and became more readable.
I really liked the characters in this novel. I especially like the protagonist Lysander as he seemed rounded and was always hiding something from the reader and the people in Millingham. He had a background that he doesn’t want people to find out about and this just adds to the mystery of the story, leading to curiosity which leads to further page-turning. I also liked Samantha who had been through a traumatic incident with her mother but I loved her drive. She wasn’t willing to accept things as they were given to her and, despite being completely scared at times, she didn’t let that stop her from taking control and doing things her way to get the answers that she needed. She was a well-rounded character that was thoroughly enjoyable to read.
This book is a horror/thriller/mystery type story and is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It does get down with the gritty dark parts but it does them well. The antagonist seemed so real and interesting, and utterly terrifying at points as well. Hayes manages to create a world so real around the town of Millingham and really pulls the reader in, letting them get lost within the words on the page. His omnipresent narrative worked really well with this type of novel and made the story that little bit more frightening. The one thing I would have liked to see was a bit of the story from the antagonist’s POV. It would have been intriguing to see what they were thinking, but that’s just a small thing and the novel was absolutely fine without it.
All in all, this was a novel that I really enjoyed and would recommend to anyone who likes stories that hold the potential to be extremely scary. It’s not for the feint of heart but it’s certainly one to be read if you like the kind of story that brings you up short with questions you never even thought to ask. A good, interesting read.