by Katherine Arden
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces.
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.
Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.
With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.
Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.
Brian was on Coco’s left, Ollie realized. He wasn’t next to her at all.
“Whose hand am I holding?” Ollie whispered.
When I started this book, it was late at night and I had my air conditioner on full blast that the room was freezing. Despite knowing that this book was a horror book, I thought it was a children’s book and it wouldn’t scared me.
A) I was wrong. The book was scary.
B) The winter setting of the book and the cold temperature of the room made the events in the book so much more real (and scarier).
Dead Voices started a few months after the event in Small Spaces. Right from the start, we’re surrounded by endless snow as Ollie, her father, Coco, Coco’s mother, and Brian were on a trip to a ski resort courtesy of a gift Ollie’s father had won. We only spent a short time on the road, but we as a reader already got ominous feeling with the snowstorm, nightmares, and mysterious figure appearing on the road. Things only got worse that when they arrived at the resort, they got snowed in and all devices mysteriously not working.
Katherine Arden really excels at writing cold, dark, wintry setting. Her writing transports you with our characters into the dark resort, with its creepy animals and cold that seeps into the bones. I also love how the resort’s past has an urban legend feels into it, like telling ghost story around a campfire, which I always love. I can’t believe that this book is a MG since it’s very creepy! I’d say this book is far scarier than Small Spaces, with the amount of dark, cold, and evil ghosts present. And the experience is just so real, you know??? There are several moments that got me jumped out in fright. Further, this book also has multiple twists and despite having guessed some, it was still an amazing reading experience. It just kept me glued to the story- I started, and then couldn’t stop reading that I pulled an all-nighter!
“Wiser and greater men than you have tried outsmarting me, as you put it. They are dead now.”
“Well,” said Coco very coldly, “that’s too bad for them. But I’m a girl, and I bet I can beat you at chess.”
The events that happened in Small Spaces have definitely changed the children: they are plagued by nightmares and wary of dark and small spaces, but they also have a strong bond and very protective of each other! I love reading how Ollie, Coco, and Brian helped, support, and trust each other. We got to see each characters’ strength as the story goes: Ollie being brave and persistent, Coco being strategic, and Brian being such a team player and observant that he could understand what’s going on without words. The story is told from Ollie and Coco’s perspective, while I find their voices similar, I also think they are distinguishable enough! Their friendship is really strong and pure, they provide a contrast to the dark setting and storyline.
Overall, Dead Voices is a fantastic sequel that’s even better than the first book! It’s scarier, but also fleshed out the characters and their bonds even more. I’m looking forward for the sequel, more another season, showdowns against the smiling man, and Brian’s perspective! A solid and one of the best read of 2020!