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The Laws of the Skies

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  268 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Once upon a time, a class of six-year-olds heads into the forest for a camping trip. The innocent children play games where they imagine monsters everywhere: the creaking of trees becomes a growl, the tree trunk becomes an ogre.

But this fairy tale doesn’t have a happy ending. Monsters really do exist: accidents, illness, the murderous impulses of a classmate. One by one, ‘
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ebook, 160 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Coach House Books (first published October 11th 2016)
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3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  268 ratings  ·  100 reviews


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Felicia
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Consider this entire review a Disclaimer:

I'm not giving anything away that isn't in the description when I ask this...

Have you ever read a book where every character dies?

EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. DIES.

Twelve 6 year old classmates and their three chaperones, all dead.

And they die in the worst imaginable ways. This story is dark and disturbing beyond compare. Gory graphic scenes of the death of children...

AND I FUCKING LOVED IT!!!

From start to finish I was captivated by the unfathomable darkness
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karen
The bus pulled away along the village road, and the parents' long shadows shrunk behind the condensation-covered windows.

And there you have it.
The children were on their way.
They would never return.


you know* from the get-go that everyone in this book dies: twelve six-year-old children and their three adult chaperones bloodying up the french forest on the worst camping trip/darkest fairytale ever.

and it’s one of the best books i’ve read in a long time. not (just) because i’m a monster, but for t
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Michelle
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy hell! This book about 6 year old children on a camping trip gone wrong is absolutely brutal.

Twelve students and three chaperones enter the woods for a camping trip and none of them come out alive. That's not a spoiler, that is in the book synopsis. So I knew this wasn't going to be all rainbows and lollipops but this guy took it so far deeper and darker than I was expecting. It was nearly relentless.

"The cries of the children calling for their mothers had filled the space and made everyt
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Trish
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Netgalley for providing an ARC of this truly traumatizing story.

Well, not really traumatizing to me but I'm sure many people will be traumatized after reading about this camping trip gone wrong of a French school class.

The first graders are accompanied by their teacher and two mothers. When one mother gets sick, the other takes her back to a place where she is picked up. The healthy mother wants to go back to the children but her plans are somewhat thwarted by her own stupidity.
The si
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Chris Berko
Jun 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This might be the dumbest book I have ever read, and I mean that on many different levels. If it was meant as entertainment, it was anything but. If it was supposed to be some sort of social commentary, I didn't see it. And if I was to care about what was going on just because most of the characters were six years old, I didn't. There was absolutely no build up or character development for anybody and things just all of a sudden started happening in terms of everyone dying. At different times du ...more
Bradley
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2019-shelf
I suppose I'm spoiled for truly wicked horror after reading so much Hunter Shea over the last few years, so when I grabbed this on Netgalley, loving the sound of it from the blurb, I thought I was going to be really terrified.

I mean, let's face it... the premise is sick as hell.

The text lives up to the promise, too, but expect it to be more in line with a B-Movie horrorshow that doesn't spare the kids. At all.

Think about the original Halloween meets Kindergartener Survival. Or, rather, first gra
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Jane
Oh my word! I'm not sure what I just read or how I should rate this!

The Laws of the Skies is definitely outside of my usual comfort zone. Based on the blurb ("Twelve six-year-olds and their three adult chaperones head into the woods on a camping trip. None of them make it out alive."), I was not expecting this to be a light read. But I maybe underestimated just how dark things could get.

description

Although this is well-written and quite a short read, it took me several weeks to complete this one because I
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❤️
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
If you know me you know I'm always up for the creepy/evil child trope in books or film. This book took that trope to a whole different level with little Enzo. He's like an aggressively rabid dog. You feel deeply for it, you wish you could help it or even comfort it somehow, but you also want it to stay very far away from you.

This book is brutal. Unforgiving and relentless. Even more so because of how it was contrasted against such beautiful loping prose.

And that final page? That final line? Oof.
Mindi
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow...
Biljana
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2019
Grégoire Courtois' The Laws of the Skies requires a bit of warning: it is dark, very dark!! If you avoid twisted horror/fairy tales, as a rule, then this one is not for you. In the description and on the first page, we learn that twelve children in a grade 1 class go on a camping trip and they never return. There are no happy endings and we are pulled along to experience the deaths of the adults and the children (some accidental; some at the hands of an evil little six year old, Enzo). It wasn't ...more
Ericka Seidemann
Gruesome, horrifying, unputdownable.
Would recommend this to those macabre ghouls like me who would enjoy reading a chilling nightmare of children lost in the woods dying in horrible ways.

The story is short (about 150 pages), and its brevity allows for the satisfaction of getting to the nitty-gritty without any superfluous fluff. Three adults and twelve six-year-olds are on a weekend camping trip deep in the woods and no one lives. That’s not a spoiler. The author also cleverly inserts some phil
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Jenni
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little book is brutal and horrible and savage. It’s like Lord of the Flies + Friday the 13th (with literal 6-year-olds instead of teenagers). I’m not giving away anything that isn’t in the description: of the 12 children and 3 adults on this camping trip, none of them survive.

I can’t recommend this book to anyone I know, but it’s well-written, beyond disturbing, and I could not stop reading it.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
If you love Lord of the Flies, this is a book you’ll definitely want to get on your reading list. Shocking and compelling, it overflows with nightmarish and beautiful prose that will have you gripping the pages until the very end.

With the sheen of a fairytale from beginning to end, I didn’t read The Laws of the Skies as a literal sort of book. It is interested in fear, both childish fears of monsters, and adult fears like illness and not being able to keep your children safe. It has a Grimm’s vi
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Joshua
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kind of like that scene from Arrested Development where the Warden puts on his movie script as a play with 1st graders.
Subashini
A savage, vicious fairy tale of horror. The dark woods, lost parents, murderous kids, dead bodies, toxic fruits, and WILD BOARS. It's not a spoiler, but definitely a needed trigger warning, that children die and that they also inflict pain. It got under my skin and gave me weird hallucinatory nightmares. A surrealist exploration of what happens when meaning breaks down in society and only survival matters. Maybe a metaphor for our current level of civilisation?

Perhaps another consciously avant-
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Leah Bayer
3.5 stars, maybe closer to 4 just for that last scene. This is a quick, brutal book, that lacks a bit in terms of atmosphere. Some of the deaths fail to make an impact because they happen at a rapid-fire pace and the narrative dances over them: I could have used more time spent wandering in the woods, another 50 pages of building dread. But that last death? Dear lord. Brilliantly written, that one will stick with me for a long time. Only recommended for the very not squeamish.
Donna
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, novellas
Twelve six-year-olds and three adults head off into the woods for a jolly camping trip which turns out to be not-so-jolly.

This is child splatterpunk. Kids are offed in many gruesome ways and no one survives (don't worry, that's told on the first page). So ask yourself: would you enjoy reading about children dying in many different ways? Yes? Me, too - so read this book. I admit I chose it just to see how awful the deaths would be, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the author's well-written
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Melissa Markle
Reading this was like reading a Grimms' fairy tale come to life that proceeded to eat your family while you watched in horror. It was deeply disturbing and relentlessly unpleasant and dark as pitch. Children die, lots of them, in lots of truly horrible ways. I am glad I live in a society where I am free to read things like this, but I still kind of want to remove my brain and rinse out all of the parts of it that this book touched. 2 stars because the writing was stunning and Yay freedom? but WO ...more
Emily
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Without an adult, reality suddenly dissolved."

The Laws of the Skies is a chilling & gruesome horror novella that came highly recommended by my friends Audra & Mindi, so I had to grab a copy. It is somewhat reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, but it's still very different. Lord of the Flies has a heavy focus on building a system, and The Laws of the Skies concentrates on chaos over a weekend.

This book is fairly violent and gory, and I don't recommend this book for people who aren't okay w
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Rachel
Oh. My. God. What did I just read? I received a copy of this from the publisher through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program and I just have to say thank you to them because...holy (expletive). This book was insane - intense, terrifying, horrifying, and absolutely impossible to put down. A class of a dozen six-year olds and three adult chaperones go on a weekend trip to the forest. No one survives. This is not a spoiler. The reader is told that on the first page. But the ways in which everyone ...more
Melissa
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It turns out that I was not particularly in the mood to find entertaining the tale of one six-year-old menacing and murdering other six-year-olds, at least those six-year-olds who did not die in other graphically described ways on their trip to the forest with some ill-fated adult chaperones - I've had a six-year-old, see, and mine was tall for his age but still much shorter than me and it was hard to suspend my disbelief that six-year-olds would act this way or think this way or be terrifying i ...more
Hope
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We know from the beginning that these little children will not make it out of the forest but not how or when they will meet their fates. One obvious culprit of the children’s demise is hinted at right away in the actions of the cruel and potentially sociopathic Enzo. The rest you’ll have to read for yourself.

The book acts as a dark adult fairytale and a meditation on human nature, adulthood, the way tragedy can be commonplace even if unexpected and the naïveté of childhood. The writing is excll
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Pam
Jul 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew 140 pages would be so hard to get through? The 5-year-old characters often sound like they’re 30, and the author moves from POV to POV between each paragraph (sometimes even in the middle of a paragraph!). All the great reviews got my psyched for this, but it just didn’t do it for me.
Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.
If ‘And Then There Were None’ was done with kids, this story follows a troop of 6-year old campers and their adult guides. What happens when one of the children turns out to be a crazed psychopath? Death, gore, blood and carnage, that’s what! I enjoyed every single second of this book and would recommend it to absolutely no one because I don’t know many people that would enjoy seeing kids dying and being murdered in such horrific ways. Me, however, needs a physical copy of this book ASAP so I ca ...more
Kirsten LoAndBeHolt
I'm infinitely grateful to Rhonda Mullins for translating this gorgeous novella to English, otherwise I never would have had the pleasure to read it.

THE LAWS OF THE SKIES is Lord of the Flies meets Battle Royale. 12 children and 3 chaperones embark on a weekend camping retreat, only to be met with unending torment. We meet Enzo on page 1, a boy who delights in crushing snails under his sneaker, in watching other children's pain, and from that first moment we worry just how dark this story can g
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Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
oh, wow, this is awful! amazingly awful! unashamedly amazingly awful! arguably one of the most brutal books i have ever read, a bit like "A Serbian Film" crossed with "Hansel and Gretel" mixed up with "Predator" and put into novella form, or something equally horrifying and bloody and beautiful... seriously, one wonders what traumas Mr. Courtois has encountered, what charnel house he lives in, what Hyde-ish alter ego creeps through his nights... a final act to cleanse the palate of humanity and ...more
Marisa
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly messed up, gruesome book! I love it! Even though I had the idea I was getting into a horror novel, I didn’t quite understand the extent of it. Courtois does a hell of a job spinning a bloody, intensely horrifying novel, and Rhonda Mullins’s translation reads extremely well. I’m sure the novel is even more successful in its native language, but personally, I think Mullins does the novel great justice with her translation.

No spoilers, but this is not a happy book at all. For
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Rachel
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"All of these stories, all of these tales, repeat ad nauseam that a child has no business alone in the middle of the woods, that no good can come of heading off-road. And yet here we are."

Harrowing and grotesque, although there's a certain poetry to it. Abandon all hope if you choose to read this book. The situations are so extreme and hopeless that it's almost cathartic to read them and come out whole.
Hope Yoders
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An affecting, disturbing little book.

We know from the beginning that these little children will not make it out of the forest but not how or when they will meet their fates. One obvious culprit of the children’s demise is hinted at right away in the actions of the cruel and potentially sociopathic Enzo. The rest you’ll have to read for yourself.

The book acts as a dark adult fairytale and a meditation on human nature, adulthood and the naïveté of childhood. The writing is excllent (a good transl
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Annamaria
2.5

"The eagle has to fly, otherwise he’s not a real eagle, you see? No, you don’t see, because you are all little mice! All of you, do you hear me? And do you know what eagles eat?"

I have an incredible fascination with books about people finding themselves in an enclosed space with an assassin on the loose, "And Then There Were None" style basically. This story follows its premise, loosely. Twelve children and their three adult chaperones go on a camping trip in the woods. Something happens, so
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