Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way and the thoughts expressed are my own.
The author contacted me to review the book, and I went into it knowing next to nothing. The book starts with Joe constantly having terrible nightmares telling him to go to the lake in the woods. He asked his best friend, Amber, for help as he starts to hear a voice in his head. Terrified but determined to help, Amber goes with Joe as he follows the voice and leads them to a ghostly boy named Mark. From there, their journey becomes even more bizarre.
Joe hearing a voice in his head was creepy, made worse by the fact that he can’t understand what it says. Along with this, he has instances of seeing someone else’s eyes in place of his in the mirror. Very creepy for a kid’s book. However, as it continues the book becomes less unsettling, probably because the unsettling-ness of the early chapter is thanks to the unknown. Though the ‘monsters’ could be quite frightening to young readers.
From the start, this book was a victim of ‘show, don’t tell’, telling the reader what the characters are doing and feeling, instead of demonstrating it. It can be hard to overcome this, but it is well worth it, taking an average novel to truly good levels. Along with this, the author used the minimal description, making the ‘telling’ even more apparent.
It was also confusing that in the beginning, it seemed that Joe was the main character, but as the story continued, we followed Amber instead. She was a good character, and perhaps it would have worked better if she was the main character. Within the same chapter, we would suddenly switch to the other child, even between paragraphs which is a very poor slip. Even a few line spaces to create a gap to signify the change would help or the chapters altered between following Amber or Joe.
The novel does have an alright concept, though. With a little more writing and editing, this book could be okay. It was finished in such a way the author could write a sequel, which hopefully means they plan to work on the series some more which could help improve the author’s writing and editing. They have talent and could be quite good if given a chance to develop their skills and a little more editing. I give it 3/5.