Thursday, 3 October 2013

Book Review: Sandra Greaves - The Skull in the Wood


This book looked really good when it arrived through the post - it  definitely looked and sounded like my kind of read. As always with books published by Chicken House, it had a reputation to live up to, so I was really pleased to get stuck into this story and to find out more.

Sandra is a prize-winning poet who has now turned her hand to writing books for children. Her first outing is aimed at the 9+ audience which is suitable and appealing to both boys and girls. It really is an impressive start - she is definitely an author that has serious potential. 

The creepy plot is based around the atmospheric backdrop of Dartmoor; desolate, bleak and wild but yet also beautiful. The story ambles along at a steady pace. Mysteriously you become drawn into the storyteller's power - a superb blend of dark imagination that will have you running away in delicious fright. You will never see a spooky wood in the same light once you have experienced Old Scratch Woods. 

As the mist rolls in off the moor, dark things start to happen when a buried skull is found by Tilda and Matt. These two quarrelling cousins soon find themselves cursed by the gabblerachet - a fantastic name but a deadly nightmare. Dreadful things start to happen as the curse thrives on the bad blood between Tilda and Matt. As it feeds off their emotions, black things start to happen such as animals turning bad, dogs turning wild and other unimaginable events. The only way to break the curse is to work together, but will it be enough.... or will the curse end up taking them all?

This is an original ghost story that is both imaginative and enjoyable, which is  a refreshing change. It is a down-to-earth, old-fashioned tale set in a real place but in modern day life. It is a tale of a family full of complications and unpredictabilities that we all can relate to. The flesh and bones of life and emotional turmoil e.g. sadness, happiness, anger and joy. Everything that makes us human is sophisticatedly portrayed in this book.  Psychologically, this page turner will stay with you for a while. It is a book that you will be glad to have read. 

Move over you badly behaved chickens as there is a new voice in town to recommend. This book had now been published in clucking paperback glory and can be found in a hen house near you. 

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