Hex is one of the books of my 5 Halloween reads to make you shiver. I have to say it was much more than I was anticipating. I didn’t expect to feel so emotionally involved with the Grant family and I certainly wasn’t expecting the ending …
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 2725 KB
Print Length: 385 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
The greats of fiction Stephen King and George R. R. Martin lead the fanfare for HEX, so be assured that Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s debut English novel is both terrifying and unputdownable in equal measure.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, 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. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she’s there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.
The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into a dark nightmare.
Oh how easy it was to become totally involved with the people living in the community of Black Spring! Steve and Jocelyn Grant weren’t born in Black Spring but have been living there for 18 years. With their two sons Tyler and Matt (and not forgetting family dog Fletcher!) we interact with – and become involved with – the Black Spring community. Although we have a brief introduction to Katherine Van Wyler (the Black Rock witch) at the beginning of the story it’s the Grant family that as a reader, we come to identify with first. There’s the emotional hook. And makes you care about what happens as the story gathers pace. Tyler feels so passionate about being able to leave Black Spring and have a life that he bands together with four other teens to experiment and hope to break those Hex bonds. It’s those experiments that get totally out of hand …
The history of the Hex and an historical experiment is seen through the experience of new residents Burt and Delarosa. It was so easy to feel their extreme fear and their hopelessness! Teen Jayden just made my skin crawl and I just couldn’t find anything redeeming about his actions. Whilst I did feel some sympathy towards Griselda, I wasn’t surprised she did what she did!
The atmosphere (for me) was cloying, heavy and pessimistic. Expectations are so different from a ‘normal’ community that I think you do need to suspend your own perceptions about the world. Or maybe there’s a community like Black Spring out there … The book trailer portrays this perfectly.
There are some ancient practices (a scene in the town square before the heartache begins gave me more than goosebumps) but technology brings this age old witch curse into the modern world. Having to know where Katherine (clever to personalise the witch 🙂 ) is at all times so that the Hex is contained, webcams are everywhere and the need for secrecy means that mobile phones/internet are monitored. I loved the app telling the town the witch’s location but such extreme monitoring of the community and its people did feel uncomfortable (adding another layer to the main story).
My heart broke a couple of times and I was reading through tears. I was trying to keep a clear head as the pace builds to the end … And the ending? turned everything upside down. I love a story that makes me look beneath the surface and follow my thoughts on a deeper level. Hex does exactly that.
I’ve read that Warner Bros. are currently developing a TV series based on Hex. If you love horror, you won’t want to miss this!