I saw this book in the bookstore at the trainstation, a couple of weeks back. The title instantly got me curious and so I read the back. I was SOLD. And even Stephen King and George R. R. Martin approve, so I just had to buy and read this book.
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.
[because I read the Dutch version of the English version I will give my review with the Dutch names in it]
Okay, where to begin? I wouldn’t know, because my thoughts are really all over the place when it comes to this book (in a good way). Let’s say I was more than eager to immediately read this book when I got home. And so I did.
I was a bit confused at the start, because the witch gets called by about three different names: ‘oma’ (granny), Katharina and ‘old woman with sewn eyes’. Beforehand I didn’t know that her name was Katharina, so I assumed it was just a villager (which made the start even more weird hah). After this kind of a messy start, I got really into it! It kind of made me think of Under the Dome by Stephen King: a tight community gets locked off from the rest of the world and simply have to live and survive with each other. Now the villagers of Beek are still able to work outside the village, but when they are away from home for too long they get suicidal thoughts. All because of the witch’s curse. So, in a way they can’t escape Beek.
In the story you follow about three groups of people: the De Graaf family, Gemma Holst and Robert Grim. You get to see everything they do, feel everything they feel and in the end I felt like I really knew all about them. That made the ending even worse. Because, man, that ending was as apocalyptic as it can be. And it is brought in a way that this story could really be true (although I sincerely hope it isn’t) and it makes me want to visit the village of Beek. Because, you know, maybe if I keep my eye on everything I really get to see the witch. I DON’T KNOW, because the villagers keep it a secret for outsiders. AAAAAH!
I honestly think that Thomas Olde Heuvelt deserves all the praise in the world for this fantastic novel. The set up of the story was just so very brilliant and it really made me think about the Earth and its inhabitants and to what fear and terror can lead us. I think I will be rereading this book very soon.