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Dark Waters

(Small Spaces #3)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,667 ratings  ·  710 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying t
Hardcover, 198 pages
Published August 10th 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,667 ratings  ·  710 reviews

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Let me tell ya'll something. Arden has a gift for writing a creepy story made for a younger audience. This installment in the series was definitely more spooky than the last book and ended on one heck of a cliffhanger.

Dark Waters picks up right where readers leave off in the second installment of the series. Ollie, Brian, and Coco are still working to defeat the Smiling Man and do everything in their power to find a way to end his power and control for good. This is the "spring" book of the seri
h o l l i s
First of all, that cover? Amazing. It's definitely my favourite of the series. But this didn't nudge out book two for sheer spooky creepy excellence, unfortunately.

Now spring (following fall and then winter themes for books one and two), this trio of besties are still researching ways to defeat their nemesis the Smiling Man. Their adventures have taken a toll, as has their preoccupation, and so they jump on the opportunity to spend some time outdoors, away from small spaces and mirrors and any s
Rachel Reads Ravenously
I recommend this series all the time to middle grade horror lovers. As much as I love this series for kids, I think if there are any more I might not continue reading. They're good, but I'm not the target demographic. ...more
Aug 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.
Absolutely average. This story had no heart-racing-faster actions, no creepy moments (except one, hence the two and a half stars).
It ended so abruptly, I was completely lost.

First book is the best. Second.. so-so. Third-a total debacle. I'm afraid how I will feel about the fourth one.
rachel ☾
#1) Small Spaces ★★★★☆
#2) Dead Voices ★★★★☆

hands down, the best in the series

Trigger warnings for (view spoiler).

BlogTrigger Warning DatabaseStoryGraph
~ a foray in fantasy ~
Aug 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Super quick read, but not nearly as scary as book 2.

The cliffhanger, though. Now I have to wait who knows how long for the last book.
Nov 18, 2020 added it
Shelves: dark-spooky

secondly, i am psyched we're getting some springtime water horror with the best mg crew.
i think this novel was my least favourite of the series so far; it felt a little scattered and abrupt. that being said, it still gave me the shivers!
Sep 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As a huge Goosebumps nerd from when I was a wee one, Katherine Arden has brought me back to my childhood with this spooky middle grade series and I’m absolutely loving it. I somehow snagged copies of the first two books as arcs and managed to force myself to wait the long forever drawn out wait for this third installment in the Small Spaces series.

Each book has had a paranormal / spooky encounter in three very different settings following the lives of three friends who found their friendship th
Sep 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
I didn’t like this one. 🥺 Dead Voices was SO good, it scared the shit out of me for ages after I read it a couple years ago, as a fully grown, 25+ year old adult.

This just fell flat. It felt like the author wanted to have Ollie be missing and saving her be the final battle against the Smiling Man, and needed a vehicle to get the story there. And this is what we got, two years later. It’s not even 200 pages, we don’t deal with the Smiling Man. It was like a side quest! It read a lot like the Scoo
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
In this third installment, Brian, Ollie and Coco face down a terrifying creature from the lake. It's Brian's turn to shine as the main focus, and the book opens at the inn his family runs. Brian's parents are worried about him, since his grades have slipped some and he only hangs out with Ollie and Coco since that strange field trip back in the Fall. Brian tries to reach out to his old friend, Phil, only to fine him drawing scarecrows. Coco immediately thinks that maybe Phil doesn't have amnesia ...more
Sep 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Dark Waters is book 3 of the Small Spaces series. I enjoy this series -- and middle grade books in general -- because they are a wonderful escape from adulting. For just a little while I can escape into a story that has that sense of innocence and adventure that is so fleeting and elusive once life brings responsibilities, children, bills etc. Small Spaces is middle grade spooky/horror as well. I love being able to enjoy a creepy/spooky story that doesn't involve adult themes, gore, sex, etc.

It pains me to do this. I just didn't feel right about giving this book 3 stars or more. Sleeping on it over night highlighted even more issues I had with this and I don't know if the fourth book will even be worth it.

"Small Spaces" was so good that, that book freaked me out. Following Ollie and her grief and how she ended up defeating the Smiling Man was a great book. Maybe it should have ended there? I don't know.

"Dead Voices" had some scary bits, but the writing was uneven. And Arden deciding
Rachael  Fryman
Jul 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Available NOW!

One Sentence Summary: The gang (plus a newcomer) is back for the Spring episode and this time they are up against the lake monster of Lake Champlain and not everyone will make it home!

Reminds Me of: A Harry Potter-esque friend group set in a Goosebumps novel.

Three Reasons You Should Read This:
1) This series is perfect for MG readers looking for something spooky!
2) How can you pass up a spooky book about a lake monster?
3) The ending! *gasp*

One Thing You Should Know Before You Pick
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was a real spooky book just like the first two, though not as scary as Dead Voices. The pacing was a bit weird, I felt that the ending came very abruptly but still, that cliffhanger!
Abby Johnson
Holy cliffhanger, Batman....
Mel (Epic Reading)
Nov 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-ebook
Well this third instalment in the series is frustrating!! Not only does it not end, a literal cliffhanger, but also it is about 60 pages shorter than expected. The publisher has a number of chapter excerpts at the back of the book and so when the ending abruptly came upon me I was so frustrated, unhappy, and to top it off book 4 has a huge hold list at my library. *sigh*

Okay I know these are all book world problems and none of them major in anyones overall existence. But be warned the cliffhang
breana / milkyboos ♡
Oct 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2021
the characters hold a special place in my heart (especially ollie and coco, my brave girls!)

i didn’t get as much of the chills reading this as i wish i did though, and i purposefully read late at night as well; that’s really the only let down as i was expecting to feel a bit more fear than i ultimately did ;-;

still a really fun & fast autumn/spooky season read though!
Sep 26, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022-reads
Well, this is horribly disappointing after how much enjoyment I wrung out of Dead Voices. But, honestly, the best (and most exciting) thing about the book was the way that it ended. Aside from the mild excitement of their boat being destroyed then sinking in the first few chapters, the story fell flat and lacked the eerie depth of the previous book.

What a shame.
Another great addition to the Small spaces middle grade horror series! This instalment sees the friends stranded on an island in the summer with a dangerous water snake and a ghostly sailor. Friendships are tested the Smiling man makes a final bargain setting up for the fourth and final book. Great on audio and definitely worth checking out if you like a well written #SpookySeason middle grade adventure.
Aug 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
I love Katherine Arden! I’ve read all of her books. Small Spaces & Dead Voices were great! Arden has such a wonderful way of writing- you really feel like you are there with the characters. I felt fall and winter in her first two Small Spaces- I could see it, feel it, and smell the smells. Small Spaces was creepy and fun! Dead Voices was so spooky, wonderful!

Unfortunately, Dark Waters didn’t quite measure up. It felt rushed, and lacked depth. It almost felt like half of a book. By the time thin
Mar 30, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is honestly my favorite of the three. A lot of the reviews say it's not as scary as the first two, and while I concede the premise is not as viscerally terrifying, this book was equally as scary for me personally, just in a different way. I also appreciated that this book dealt a bit with the lingering effects of a traumatic experience on kids. ...more
Aranza (grumpy version)
Aug 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: not-owned
These books are always a shot of adrenaline and they are so fun to read. I can’t wait to see how everything ends.
Aug 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: spooky, middle-grade
There was a no denying that Katherine Arden is a fabulous writer. She is a master at suspense and can make you feel chills even in summer.
That being said, Dark Waters was not her best book. First, Coco, Ollie, and Brian from the first two books would have been super suspicious of this boat trip. Ollie was just naturally that way while Brian and Coco have learned to be. Also, Coco and Brian would have known what was up with Ollie and would have demanded answers.
If this had been the first book I
Jiny S
Aug 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This third book in the series follows the previous two with its own trapped-survival-horror theme. Really great story that reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Sea monsters, ghosts, and sunken ships are all things I love to read about.

The story flows very well, and parts of the story are deliciously creepy!

Not a big fan of the cliff hanger but it's forgivable of it ties into something epic in the final book, like a plan Ollie comes up to defeat the smiling man (I don't know).
Brandy Painter
Feb 06, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
Well, this was both disappointing and annoying. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. In fact, they were favorite reads of last year. I was really looking forward to what I assumed would be the end of a rather delightful trilogy. Instead a fourth child is added to the group here and this is largely a bridge book to what will truly (hopefully) be the end of the series. I felt cheated when I reached the end, as not only does it end on a cliffhanger, but I thought I still had 1/4 of ...more
Trigger warnings: death, body horror, death of a family member, death of a parent (in the past), mentions of drowning, snake bite.

4.5 stars.

I absolutely adore this series. It's perfectly creepy for both kids and adults, and I love how varied the creepiness has been over the three books published so far. I feel like this one is the most obviously creepy, between the giant snake and the man with the axe and the sinking boat and the general *vibe* of the island.

Brian was a great narrator and I re
Zoë ☆
Feb 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
That was seriously creepy. And that ending was just mean?!!
Mar 26, 2022 rated it liked it
I keep getting surprised that these books are for kids because I find them very creepy. Looking forward to the conclusion of the series.
Anna Beth
I love this series so much. Genuinely so creepy! Already have book 4 on hold.
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Other books in the series

Small Spaces (4 books)
  • Small Spaces (Small Spaces, #1)
  • Dead Voices (Small Spaces, #2)
  • Empty Smiles (Small Spaces, #4)

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