Sheila's Reviews > Hex

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
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really liked it
bookshelves: netgalley, read-in-2016, the-old-ways

(Updated now that I finished the whole book.) 4 stars: "I really liked it." Warnings for sexual violence, violence toward animals, violence toward children.

The good: Wow, what a different horror story--one that's actually chilling. It's so rare to find a horror novel that's unique. The ending is crazy and I loved it. Don't read this book if you want good characterization or strong writing (the translation is a bit stiff), but if you're looking for a disturbing plot, give this a try.

The not-so-good: If you think too much about the witch "rules," they kind of fall apart. (I was willing to suspend disbelief, though.) I'm not sure the U.S. setting works in this case because I kept thinking maybe they could hide from the feds, but the state government would have to be involved. The author seems weirdly obsessed with breasts...

I received an excerpt from the publisher on NetGalley. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review; I appreciate it!
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Reading Progress

April 12, 2016 – Shelved
April 16, 2016 – Started Reading
April 17, 2016 – Finished Reading
May 30, 2016 –
page 0
0.0% "Got the whole book now!"
May 30, 2016 –
page 80
May 31, 2016 –
page 131
June 1, 2016 –
page 186
June 2, 2016 –
page 131
June 2, 2016 –
page 231
June 3, 2016 –
page 283

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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Justine We've discussed the fact that the author chose to reset the book in the US quite a bit on our group but I hadn't thought about the point you make above. I know the author did live in Canada for awhile near to where he has set his fictional town; but while living in Canada might have given him a good sense of physical place, it is not the same as living in the US, however close the two countries might be to each other. There are just so many differences between the two that are hard to appreciate if you don't live there or spend quite a bit of time specifically studying them.

Sheila Did your group discuss the Dutch ending? I'd love to know what it is!

Justine Oh none of us has read the original as we don't have any Dutch speaking members, our discussion had to do more with the author's whole decision to even rewrite the story like that rather than just do a straight translation. He wrote a blog post about it on the Tor/Forge blog, but honestly, none of us found his reasons all that convincing.

I'm enjoying the book so far though; but I'm only at around 20% so I'm just really getting into the story.

Sheila Nice! I look forward to your thoughts! :)

message 5: by W.T. (new)

W.T. Shad Unique is tough... I go for the stories that have never been told.

message 6: by Justine (last edited Jun 05, 2016 07:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Justine Ok, so you read my review, so you know what I thought of the book. Here's the thing I don't understand though, if the author is going to essentially rewrite the entire story - and that's really what it seems he did - why keep telling everyone that and calling this a translation? What we actually have is a new book based on an original Dutch story. The author even refers to the English version as Hex 2.0.

There are quite a few people who are irritated at the idea that the location was reset, but also the entire ending was rewritten. It might be better if the author just said he wanted a chance to rewrite his own book rather than continuing to take the position that the readers wouldn't really be able to put themselves in the right frame of mind if they were reading a story with a Dutch setting. In the first case it is the author saying that he's rewriting the book because he feels he can make it better (fine), in the second it is the author saying he has to rewrite the story because the readers aren't really smart enough to appreciate a story that doesn't have a US setting (not fine).

I'm not saying I didn't like the book - you know I did - I just think I would have liked it more without that extra baggage.

Sheila Interesting points. I tried googling what the Dutch ending was, but couldn't find anything. I think I would have preferred a Dutch setting because I enjoy reading about European locations.

Justine Oh me too! I don't think the fictional US setting made any difference at all to how scary I found it, and that was the author's entire stated rationale for resetting the story.

I don't really understand why he would tell us at the end of the book that it used to have a different ending, but then refuse to reveal it. That was a bit annoying actually. Either say what it was or don't mention it, but don't just be provocative about it.

Sheila Yeah. I liked the book, but that seemed kind of childish. Very annoying!

message 10: by Justine (last edited Jun 05, 2016 08:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Justine He came off about the same in the blog post he wrote on the Tor/Forge blog where he talked about his reasons for resetting the book in the US, and they weren't very compelling to be honest. He also went as far as deleting at least one comment by a friend of mine who very politely expressed her disagreement with some of his reasons, but had also said she wasn't going to be reading the book because of the substantial and material changes to the English version.

So I think maybe he is just a bit immature and doesn't really know how to handle conflict all that well. But that said, this particular book has received quite a bit of publication support and it would be nice if someone would give him a few tips on how to deal with the public more professionally. That is part of being a published author after all.

message 11: by Justine (last edited Jun 05, 2016 08:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Justine But leaving all that stuff aside...the book was great!

Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ Oh! I was wondering about all this. When I heard this was a translation, I was really curious why it was set in the US. It just didn't fit. I mean, besides the government thing (like the US gov would just hand something like this off!), you'd think the Church would've been king in that town. It would've been dictating everything. And where in the US would a church name of Crystal Meth ever stand? xD It actually seemed a bit more political in nature, but I'm not sure why. Which probably sounds crazy, I know. XD

The ending didn't seem to quite fit either. I liked it insofar as it was but it still felt changed. It felt like the ending was built more around Tyler but, at the last minute, he switched all that up.

I dunno. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for clarifying some things. :)

message 13: by Justine (last edited Jun 06, 2016 09:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Justine Alisi I believe the name of the church was Crystal Methodist Church but the teens in town just jokingly referred to it as Crystal Meth Church.

I hadn't thought about the ending being centred around Tyler. That's an interesting idea.

message 14: by Karlijn (new) - added it

Karlijn Scholten I just read the Dutch version, but at the end it said it is also different from his first Dutch version (I got the 2016 copy).
I could explain this Dutch ending:

BEWARE SPOILERS!!!!!!!!***********(




In the end the father is the only survivor, everyone else drowned themselves in the Waal (river). Someone knocks in the door and he believes it to be his dead son or something. He decides to sew his eyes shut because he cannot bear to look at anything from his town anymore.

I could look into finding the first copy and see what that ending was about.
I am also curious about the English version and ending

Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆ That's the ending of the English version too.

Brittany I really enjoyed your review and the comments. Glad I was not the only one who noticed the obsession with breasts. I did, however, have a question. Any person who comes in contact with the witch must stay in town (like the De La Rosa's after they saw her in the house) but they mentioned that at the festival they often made a spectacle of the witch and some people got pictures with her if she was out, wouldn't that force them to stay in Black Springs? Or was it not Katherine herself at the festival? For some reason that has been bugging me and I hope I haven't missed something. I also agree the middle fell really flat for me.

Sheila Brittany, in my opinion, the witch "rules" fall apart if you think about them too much, like you noted. However, I don't remember specifics, so maybe someone else can answer more clearly!

Justine They had locals dress up like the witch during the festival to pose with photos and just be around town. That way if the real Witch just appeared then the tourists wouldn't notice her...hiding her in plain sight was the idea. That is what I recall of the explanation being.

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