Monday, June 18, 2018
The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart. Viking Books for Young Readers. August 2018.
The Plot: 1982. Five friends find a box in the woods and each put a treasure in it, and tell themselves the rules: Never come back to the box alone. Never open it after dark. Never take back your sacrifice.
Four years later ... something is coming after them.
Someone broke the rules, the box is not happy . . . and something is coming after them.
The Good: I read the publisher pitch for this and was sold: "A horror story about friendship, growing up, and finding a place in the world: Gremlins meets The Breakfast Club by way of Stephen King and Stranger Things."
I was sold. And did The Sacrifice Box deliver?
Well, this is my first post in almost two years.
Which means I either loved it. Or hated it.
And the answer is.....
I was reminded of the horror books I loved as a teen, by Stephen King and Peter Straub. And since I was reading those books in the 1980s, the 1980s time period makes perfect sense.
Two sets of kids find the "sacrifice box," that speaks to them and whispers the rules in dreams. One, in the early 1940s; another in the 1980s.
Both groups find that breaking the rules can be deadly; for them, and for others.
I enjoyed the group dynamics, good and bad, for the two groups of kids. The kids live on an island, and Sep - the primary main character in the 1980s group - just wants to leave for the mainland. One reason? He has no friends. He's a loaner who doesn't quite fit in. He can only really remember fitting in once, and that group of friends sealed their friendship with a sacrifice at the "sacrifice box." But it turns out, that was a group who came together one summer because, well, they were the ones who were around. It wasn't anything more than that... at least, that's what Sep tells himself.
And now.... now something has crawled out of the sacrifice box and Sep and those who once were his friends have to get together and figure out who broke the rules and whether they can be fixed.
As I said, great group dynamics. And very, very creepy -- including some giant crabs and I do not want to know if they are based on something real. Also good use of setting -- the isolated island an d the mix of folks who like the small village life and those who can't wait to escape, to those who see it as comforting and those who see it as limiting. Also, it goes "there" -- folks die. Which, yeah, for me -- horror has to have some skin in the game. Dead things, not just pets.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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