Monday, October 8, 2018

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart Review

Title: The Sacrifice Box
Author: Martin Stewart
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Unfortunately, I got about fifty pages into Markswoman and it just wasn’t working for me, so I picked up The Sacrifice Box instead. Autumn means Halloween and fall in full swing, and so, I love to read horror and spooky mysteries to really get me in the right mood for my favorite holiday. I’ve heard great things about British author Martin; I’ve been curious about his writing ever since I saw his debut novel, Riverkeep. So when I saw this sitting on the new shelf at my library, the stark, scary cover drew me in, and when I realized that it was due back on the third, I pushed it up to the top of my stack. I was looking for a spooky, creepy horror novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. But to call this a mere horror novel would be a disservice to the story, because ultimately, it was a novel of friendship, love, betrayal, and courage. I’m still not sure how to describe this book, even after finishing it last week. The best thing that I can think of is if the gory, tense horror of Stephen King and Joe Hill, and the offhand, hilarious humor and time period of Stranger Things had a baby. It was delightfully weird, surprisingly funny, dark and spooky, and beautifully written. It was not perfect, but it came really close to it! One of the best books I’ve read this year!

The Sacrifice Box tells the story of a group of friends: Sep, Hadley, Lamb, Arkle, and Mack. Brought together by a summer of friendship, they decide to put some special objects in an old stone box that they find in the woods. Fast forward to years later, and the childhood pals have long since grown apart. Sep longs to escape the stifling island on which he lives and strike out on his own, Hadley is often alone and quiet, more interested in music and her own thoughts than in real life; Lamb and Mack are proud jocks, more athletically skilled but just as lonely as before, in their superficial circle of friends, and Arkle is adrift without his old friends, more content to trudge through school and cause trouble, mostly of the pyrokinetic sort. But when the box opens again and all of the kids begin to see birds gathering, things dying mysteriously, and certain objects begin to resurface, they realize that the box took more than they could’ve ever imagined, and that the fate of the island rests on their shoulders…

The Sacrifice Box was such a surprising, shockingly funny horror novel with a bleeding red heart at its center; I was absolutely blown away. Stewart’s prose was hypnotic and beautiful, even when it got creepy or gory. There were definitely times that I wanted to put the book down and walk away for a while; the imagery was so strong and compelling that it followed me into my dreams. But try as I might, I just couldn’t put it down! For every frightening, spooky detail, it was broken up by utter hilarity; as a result, the pacing was fantastic! I was laughing and shivering and pulling my hair out constantly throughout. I also enjoyed the way Stewart told the story of the box, the way that the kids found it, but it was so much more than that! I don’t want to say too much; I don’t want to give it all away. But The Sacrifice Box was the best book to kick off autumn and to get in the spooky mood for Halloween! One of the best horror books I’ve ever read! It wasn’t perfect; at times, the pacing between the characters and the shifts in point of view were confusing. But nonetheless, I really enjoyed it! Absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to check out Riverkeep! The bottom line: Terrifying, hilarious, and beautiful, I loved The Sacrifice Box! One of my favorite horror novels that I’ve read recently! Next on deck: Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft by Jessica Spotswood!

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