Audiobook Review: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Narrator: Jeff Harding
Published by Macmillan Audio, Tor Books on April 26th 2016
Length: 14 hours 20 minutes
The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel, Hex, from Thomas Olde Heuvelt--a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.
This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy.
Hex is an incredibly creepy tale, one that can I don’t think I’m likely to forget anytime soon. It is disturbing and unsettling, a ghost story that goes beyond just a mysterious aberration. A small town is haunted and trapped by a ghost. One might think, hey, just leave the town if she’s so bad, right? But nope. Not that simple. There seems to be a curse that prevents them from leaving. Not that no one has tried, but it never ends well. As soon as they cross over town lines, they experience a strong compulsion that will destroy them if they do not return.
The ghost herself is definitely creepy. With her mouth and eyes sewn shut, she can appear anywhere in the town at any time. She doesn’t really interact with anyone, just appears. Maybe in the town square. Maybe at the foot of your bed. Anywhere is fair game because the town is essentially hers. I have to admit, the fact her eyes and mouth are sewn shut added a major creep factor for me. You can’t help but wonder what could happen if those stitches were removed, plus the imagery of it is certainly more striking and unsettling.
As a safety precaution, the town has also implemented a software program to track the ghost’s whereabouts as well as keep an eye on the town’s border. People can reference the Hex app on their phones to find the ghosts last known location. Its an interesting modern addition to the story, one that helps bring what could be an old ghost story to life in the modern age.
The audio performance of this overall was very good. For most of the voices and emotions, I felt that Jeff Harding did a great job, really adding to the atmosphere and suspense. My only complaint really is that sometimes some of the boys sounded a bit too whiney for me. This review is coming on the heels of my last audiobook review where I had the same complaint for that narrator, so it may be a case where my tolerance for whining is super low.
I definitely recommend this one if you are in the book for a story that will creep you out!