Book Review: Hex, Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HexHex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: 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.

Review:

Unmarked spoilers!

First, I’m not really into horror novels. I get scared and paranoid very easily, and it’s just unpleasant for me all around, no matter how good the book is. However, Hex is one of those rare horror novels that did not haunt my dreams, but terrified me all the same.

It’s about a little town, with a few people, and of course, a witch. Now, in the beginning, the witch, Katherine, isn’t really scary- she’s more of an element of comedy, with her simply showing up everywhere and the residents of the town ignoring her in every way they possibly could. After some very horrifying events with some of the town’s teenage boys, the witch is angry and the main character’s son is just dead enough for him to want to cut open Katherine’s eyes and mouth and set her loose in order to bring him back.

The book’s main message is that mob mentality is a horrible thing that leads to a lot of destruction. It’s not exactly wrong, of course, but it felt very heavy-handed and it really wasn’t what I signed up for- I came into this book expecting it to be more revenge-of-the-witch-ish rather than the town destroying itself out of fear and anger. Also, the author may have some kind of strange obsession with nipples- there was a lot of pinching and twisting and stabbing and some more weird boob analogies and it just got really weird.

The suspense of the book was also very great, but I felt it went on a little too long and lost its power by the end. However, overall (despite quite a few things that I was just confused by, including pâté gushing from a woman’s womb onto a pile of dead children) I enjoyed Hex. 3/5 stars.
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