Justine's Reviews > Hex

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2016-read

The picturesque town of Black Spring is not only haunted, it's cursed. The Black Rock Witch, a woman killed by the town's residents back in the 17th Century, regularly haunts the town in corporeal form, and if you happen to hear the whispers coming from her stiched up mouth, you feel an overwhelming urge to kill yourself. Not only that, but once you move to Black Spring, you can't leave, as the urge to commit suicide follows any who stray from the town's borders for too long.

The story certainly has all the ingredients for a good horror story, and for the most part, it delivers. Similar in feel to old school King, it reminded me of books like Pet Sematary. Hex is scary not only because of the supernatural aspect, but because of the the inevitable outcome as it collides with human nature. The townspeople of Black Spring are essentially indoctrinated into a culture of fear from cradle to grave and it does nothing to help them.

The book does a great job of slowly but surely cranking up the level of tension as it goes along, and it is definitely a story driven rather than a character driven book. The translation from the original Dutch doesn't feel like a translation, perhaps because the author has rewritten the story to such an extent. Not only has the setting been changed from the original Dutch location to the fictional US town of Black Spring, but the author notes in the acknowledgements that he rewrote the last several chapters, giving the English language version of Hex a new ending.

Obviously I can't comment on that decision because I haven't read the original Dutch version of Hex. I didn't particularly feel that the US setting added anything to the story, and that might of course be because I'm Canadian, but I don't think so. As I said above, what makes the book scary is the interaction between the supernatural and human nature, and that would be the same regardless of the setting.

So would I recommend it? If you like horror, then this book is worth a read, and I would just approach it as a rewritten or new work rather than a translation.
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Reading Progress

December 28, 2015 – Shelved
December 28, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
June 3, 2016 – Started Reading
June 3, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-read
June 4, 2016 –
June 5, 2016 –
June 5, 2016 – Finished Reading

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