Book Review: The Haunting (Alex Bell)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

Pages: 352

Release Date: February 11th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Some curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…

Review:

The first book I read in the Red Eye series was Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and I completely loved it. It’s been by far the best in the series so I was really excited when I found out she was writing another one for them.

I found The Haunting a little slower than Frozen Charlotte, and definitely not as creepy. It’s probably unfair to compare the two so much, as they are different books (plus Frozen Charlotte had me unbelievably spooked) but I suppose it’s inevitable to do so when it’s a book in the same series, and by the same author.

I enjoyed seeing this book from different perspectives – Emma, who has been hurt by the Waterwitch’s curse before, Jem who doesn’t believe in witches or curses, and Shell, a witch herself who sees a lot more than everyone else, even if they don’t always believe her.

Despite the book being fairly evenly split between the three, I thought of Emma as the main protagonist, probably because we started the story with her. I loved her relationship with Bailey, her disability assistance dog, I was kind of dreading something bad happening to him the whole story (I won’t say whether it does or not – not spoilers here!) It was clear how much she loved and relied on him, and how much she would struggle, physically and emotionally if something were to happen to him. I think her being in a wheelchair added a real vulnerability to her character – she couldn’t just go upstairs to investigate strange noises, or run away when something frightened her, and that made for some tense reading.

I think the climax worked really well, but my one gripe was how definite it was – throughout the book I enjoyed Shell as a bit of an unreliable narrator. Sure, she thinks she’s seeing all these creepy things, but if no one else is then how do you know for sure? The ending made it very clear whether what she saw was real or not (again, no spoilers) but I think a bit of ambiguity would have added to the creepiness of the book.

Overall, another good read from Alex Bell and the Red Eye series, and a great way to kick off my 2016 reading (and one to add to my Horror Reading Challenge list)

4

If you enjoyed this, you might like Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

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