One evil spawned another, greater evil, and ultimately everything could be traced back to Black Spring.Welcome to Black Spring, once you move in there’s no going back. The town keeps a secret, it’s home to a witch who walks the streets, and often lurks in the rooms, of the town. Communication is strictly controlled, you don’t speak about the witch to outsiders. But the teenagers of the town are getting restless, they want to push the witch to the limits and share their knowledge.
Disclaimer, I’m a bit of a wuss so don’t read much horror but HEX is the right balance of creepy and engaging plot with developed characters. It’s a great concept to write about witch hunts in a town that has a quite obvious witch. People always want a scape goat, someone to blame the bad stuff on. You would think they would blame the witch which haunts their town but no, they blame each other. The townsfolk point fingers at those who have angered or insulted the witch in some way. It is not Katherine’s fault, there must be someone else to blame, and punish.
The Witch of Black Rock is quite creepy, I had a few moments when I half expected an apparition to appear in the room after reading. She has had her eyes and mouth sewn shut and the single attempt to release them led to disaster... Yet that isn’t what really makes HEX the excellent book it is. Giving the ghost a name, Katherine, helps humanise her and I actually felt some sympathy for her.
The enforced isolation of the town permits a more primal justice system, there is no one who is going to run to the authorities to complain about a miscarriage of justice. One character likens the town’s legal system to Sharia law and how difficult it becomes for people to speak against it. If it’s not affecting you, you just go with it and hope for an easy life. The town leaders drum up group hysteria and mob mentality. With few people able to look at the situation in an objective manner, things soon get out of control.
This is a town matter. Black Spring has always taken care of itself, and we will take care of ourselves now.
It also touches on censorship and privacy issues. The teenagers rebel against their controlled internet. They told them it’s for their own good, their own protection, but they want the freedom to go on social media. They also want the freedom to talk about it with people outside the town. Everything they do is monitored, something many of us feel is already happening.
It kinda felt like there was a little bit product placement, do we really need to know how good a GoPro is? It did tend towards mentioning brand names rather than the object, but maybe that’s just how we think these days.
HEX is published by Hodder and will be available in hardback and ebooks editions from 28th April 2016. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review. Originally written in Dutch by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, HEX has been translated into English by Nancy Forest-Flier.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.