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Black Harvest

(Dark Powers #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Colin and Prill were looking forward to a holiday of fun and adventure in Ireland. It would have been perfect if only they hadn't had to drag along their cousin Oliver. But Oliver, it turns out, isn't their biggest problem. Almost from the moment they arrive, Colin feels sick from an awful smell, so powerful and horrible that it seems to be rising from the land of the dead ...more
Paperback, Collins Modern Classics, 196 pages
Published November 6th 2009 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published October 13th 1983)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  162 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Mary Haines
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mrs Pilling was my English teacher.
Clare O'Beara
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a creepy fantasy tale on the lines of Elidor, in which the unreal and scary start to seep into real life. Three young people are staying in a seaside cottage in the west of Ireland. A brother, sister and their cousin. The mother of the siblings is also present and her small baby, and an unfortunate dog.

Feelings of foreboding along with heat, mustiness and a horrible smell ruin their plans for a good summer, and the baby frets. The dog goes off her food and the kids don't get along. Alon
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This creepy story takes place in Ireland round the 80's, when a family vacationing in a rural bungalow become victim to poltergeist type of activity. After the father leaves, the children begin to have nightmares and hallucinations. They see starving people, and their food goes rotten immediately. Without a car, and with the help of some climatic storms, cut off from all communication, they slowly begin to starve and sicken. This is a good book to teach about the Potato Famine, while giving stud ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars!
A quick and interesting spoopy read. Though I found the ending was a bit predictable.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: autumn-reads
This book read like a creepy horror movie. It's written so visually. That only made it spookier for me which I loved.

I was a bit let down by the ending though. So 3 stars.
Natalie Morosiuk
Nov 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Horrifically bad book. I kept hoping that it would get better but it never did. Read the blurb and you know the book, you'll be bored less and you will save yourself a lot of time. Nothing happens! So some kids go on holiday, they are miserable and all their food goes off too quickly and there is a bad smell... that's it... What is interesting about that?! My life is more interesting! I have fruit rotting in my fruit bowl that smells bad which is more exciting than this book!!
This is an outstandingly good book. It's one of the few YA ghost stories I've read that can still scare me as an adult — it's genuinely creepy. If you're a writer, you should study the way Pilling gets her effects. I'd say more but if I discuss them they won't work as well. ;-)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
Written originally in 1983, I don't think this has aged well. I appreciate the attempt to shed light on the 19th century potato famine in Ireland, but I thought the plot was repetitive. The family feel ill and hot, boy do they feel hot! This was mentioned every other page. They also endure bad smells and feel sick. I don't think I've ever read a book with so many instances of vomiting. I thought the withdrawn character of the cousin, Oliver, was the most interesting and showed the most developme ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite an enjoyable — and terrifying at times — short YA novel. It's actually pretty scary for a young adult novel. The terror is a rather slow build, but there were several movements when I was truly horrified, which is something I've rarely experienced from a novel before. I also loved the weaving of Irish history throughout.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I loved this book when I was growing up. I read it in an afternoon and couldn’t put it down. I was disappointed not to enjoy it as much as I did when I was eleven but this is probably because it does not have the crossover appeal of the last book I read. Still, this is a pretty terrifying ghost story and the increasing feeling of dread is well controlled up until the finale.
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Born in 1944 in Lancashire, British poet and children's author Ann Pilling read English at King’s College, London, where she wrote her thesis on C.S. Lewis' fiction. She has published over thirty books for children, one of which - Henry's Leg - won The Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction. She has two sons, six grandchildren, and currently lives in the Yorkshire Dales. Since 2003, she has concent ...more

Other books in the series

Dark Powers (5 books)
  • The Beggar's Curse
  • The Witch of Lagg
  • The Pit
  • The Empty Frame

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