review by Maryom
Silla and Nori have run away from their London home, seeking refuge from their abusive father, and heading for the only place Silla can think of - their Aunt Cath's country manor house. At first it seems like a haven, but Aunt Cath is afraid of the surrounding woods and the Creeper Man who lives in them, and gradually her fears overcome her. She retreats to the attic, leaving the girls to fend for themselves, as the trees appear to move closer to the house and the shadows take on the form of a man creeping along...
Admittedly, I'd expected something scary from the cover but I was surprised just HOW tense and horrific this turned out to be.
The atmosphere is spooky from the start - an isolated old house in the middle of a wood is just the ideal location for anything mysterious, and this one is painted the colour of blood outside, and dark and cobwebby inside, with strange noises in the night; the perfect setting for a horror movie!
After a brief lull, Kurtagich starts to raise the tension bit by bit, with Aunt Cath's descent into madness, and the arrival of a boy, Gowan, who claims to offer help, but whom Silla feels she daren't trust. Meanwhile, the trees creep ever nearer, claustrophobia builds, and the terrors outside work their way into the house.
I don't normally consider myself a reader of horror stories but this really grabbed me. It's told mainly in the first person from Silla's point of view, with occasional flashbacks to when her mum and Aunt Cath were young and first summoned the Creeper Man, diary entries written in the 'Broken Book' and snippets of Nori's thoughts; they all add to the atmosphere, and keep the reader guessing whether events really are unfolding as SIlla imagines, or if the horrors are only in her head.
It's obviously not a book for the easily frightened or squeamish, but for lovers of the dark, twisted and creepy it's a must-read ... just maybe not alone, in the dark ...
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Orion Books
Genre - teen, horror thriller