“We may be fucked up here, but that’s a whole nother level of fucked-upness.”
In the spirit of Halloween, I decided to finally review this book. I read this for Dutch class and I absolutely loved it. It is a thriller, originally written in Dutch, but also translated to English with adaptions that make the book make for sense for people that don’t live in the Netherlands, like the village it takes place, names etc. It also has an alternative ending from the original and by coincidence, I got myself a Dutch copy with the alternative ending. So yes, there are three different versions of this book!
The book is about a village that is haunted by the Black Rock Witch (Wylerwitch in the Dutch version), a 17th century woman with sewn closed eyes and mouth. She has been harmless for many years, walking around the city and coming into houses at her own will. Her haunting comes with a curse: Whoever lives in the village, either by birth or moving there, is doomed to stay there until they die.
The town is virtually quarantined the town with high-tech serveillance, like cameras on the streets and your browser activity is constantly watched, to keep the curse at bay. All the residents know to leave the witch alone and never open her eyes, but some people are tired from being locked up and are trying to push the limits.
The story is constructed really well. The book starts in a situation that the village has been in for years at that moment, but things go down hill pretty fast. The essence of watching a horrormovie, but instead you are reading it, that is how it felt. Only, you can’t close your eyes when the music starts to sound creepy, or you see someone doing something stupid. You. Just. Keep. Reading.
The character dynamics are amazing. A few of the characters you follow form a family and the kids have their friends, and they all have personal encounters with the witch and the curse, it is nothing like I have ever read. All the aspects of the story work so well together and I am definitely giving Thomas Olde Heuvelt some real credit for that.
I spent every second reading this book with chills on my back, even at the moments that weren’t scary, just knowing that witch was walking around and being creepy and all that. I hadn’t read any thrillers before this, but I absolutely loved reading this. Eventually I want to read the original and the English version just to see how different they are to this version.
I gave this four stars as I read this in Dutch, my native language, but I really prefer reading in English. Dutch sentences can be so long and dreading as the language needs so many more words to say the same as in English and it took me a whole lot of focus to read bigger chunks in one go. But I do have to say, this is one of the better Dutch books I have read.
I’d really recommend this book to everyone looking for a good thriller or a spooky read for Halloween, however I don’t recommend reading this in a dark room or just before sleep as this is really creepy, especially with the witch appearing randomly at random places at random moments. But it is certainly a really great thriller and you should totally add this to your Halloween TBR!
Again, this review is about the Dutch version with the alternative ending. The story should be the same as the one translated to English (which only has the alternative ending), besides names, places etc. I haven’t read the original ending, but the rest of the book is the same. I believe all the Dutch copies with the US cover are the ones with the alternative ending, in case you want that one or want to avoid it.