A Hollow Dream of Summer’s End review
The second book in this series entitled “A Hollow Dream: Eternal Autumn” was sent to Ginger Nuts for review and has been reviewed by my excellent collaborator, Nev Murray. You can read his review of book two here
I was intrigued enough by the synopsis of book two to download book one and read that first. I’m glad I did. It is fantastic.
Despite the glowing review to follow, I nevertheless found the first chapters a little slow. By chapter 3 I was 10% of the way through and there had been no horror or even mild scares. By chapter 6, there was a hint of unease but I was definitely a quarter of the way through the book before it really got going.
Stick with it. At only 124 pages, this is not a Stephen King length novel, so the slow start doesn’t drag too much. And despite being slow, it is well written and very engaging, focussing on character development.
After the slow start, Andrew Van Wey makes up for it by a truly grisly and terrifying creature which appears to terrorise the children. There is gore in this book, but it is used to chilling effect.
Van Wey also manages to make his nightmare believable. In the face of this horror, the kids do all the sensible things that we would do in the same situation, but phones, ipads and just general damn shouting avails them of no help whatsoever. You share with them the terror of being totally isolated whilst at the same time being able to see sanctuary so tantalisingly close.
I felt the novelette was very well paced. It moves swiftly from one grotesque scene to another without sacrificing character development. Through familiar and believable protagonists who exhibit childish petulance as well as resourcefulness, Van Wey manages to keep the reader grounded even whilst at revealing threats and fears straight out of a nightmare.
Van Wey allows his characters to refer now and again to movies, such as The Descent, to enable them to describe what they are experiencing by analogy. Generally, I am against the inclusion of such references because, to me, they always detract from the believability. A bit like breaking the fourth wall, such references remind the reader that what they are reading is mere fiction. However, I found Van Wey carried this off well, adding to the atmosphere without jarring the reader out of the story.
This is a short, but brilliant piece of horror, perfect reading for a lazy weekend that needs livening up with chills and thrills. Just don’t blame me if you have nightmares.
This is no children's tale...
This is what nightmares are made of.
All suns must set. All seasons must end.
For three fifth-grade friends, this summer's last sleepover takes a dark turn when a game goes wrong and a creature as old as time itself rises from the dark woods to claim them.
Trapped high in a treehouse by a twisted monster below, their friendship is tested as they discover the true meaning of terror.
Tonight, they must fight for their lives to keep out the nightmare, and the madness it brings.
There is no escape. There is no salvation.
There is only the treehouse, the hungering horror below, and the dawn that may never come...
A Hollow Dream of Summer's End is the Opening Chapter in a Harrowing Series, where Fantasy meets Horror at Childhood's End.