Enjoyed this book better than the first! It was also scarier IMHO, but ghosts trump scarecrows, so…
by Katherine Arden
Putnam’s Sons, August 2019
Children’s Horror, Fantasy
Rated: 5 / 5 cookies
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.
I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself, especially knowing that Katherine Arden does a really good job of freaking me out at night. Especially when it comes to the sounds of voices in the middle of the night outside a wintry cottage. She seems to like this scenery–but then of course it makes sense, since she’s currently living in a northern New England state.
Dead Voices continues the misadventures of Olive, Coco, and Brian; only this time, they’re stuck in a snow-buried mountain lodge with nowhere to run. And of course the mountain lodge is haunted, because of course it used to be an orphanage, and of course a lot of people died there.
At any moment, I swear I was going through an Until Dawn experience, and I was half-waiting for someone to start screaming about wendigos. Long story short, this book was definitely scarier than scarecrows. But I’m saying this also because I’m a wuss, so take it as you will.
This was also not as Ollie-centric this time around. In fact, it’s Coco who gets a bit more limelight than Ollie, and I kind of liked that, because Coco was definitely a downplayed character in the previous book. I’m glad she got her time to shine, and I’m actually waiting for Brian’s turn to come up in the next book (or maybe the one after?).
Whatever the case, if you like ghosts, chess metaphors, hot chocolate and pancakes, and middle grade winter stories you can read as you cuddle under your blankets–preferably where there’s a lot of light and sunshine-y things–then this is definitely a great book to pick up.
5 out of 5 cookies! I definitely liked this book better than the first, though Small Spaces is just as great a read!