Title: Dead Voices |Author: Katherine Arden |Genre: Middlegrade Horror |Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers |Series: Small Spaces #2 |256 pages
After reading “Small Spaces” I was just really, really curious about the next book in the series. The promise of a horrifying mystery Middlegrade novel that takes place in the snowy mountain was just to good to pass on.
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire. Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.
You would have thought that after they beat the Smiling Man it would all be over, right? Well, so did I and so did Ollie, Brian and Coco. The story takes place in a newly opened ski resort but already on the way there there is so much snow that the roads are treacherous and it becomes clear that there will be not many other people at the resort. It sets a great stage. The book throws you right back in the action. There is almost immediate creepiness and uncertainty and the feeling that something is very wrong.
Other than “Small Spaces” the majority of this book is told from Coco’s perspective instead of Ollie’s. Ollie still has a major role in the book but not as much as in the first.
I like Coco. She is still a little naive and easily scared and oh, so clumsy but it was fun watching her grow and find her way through this nightmare their trip becomes. Her clumsiness might be annoying but she is someone her friends can rely on and I liked that portrayal of her.
Ollie still has a lot of personal problems to deal with. I was torn between being understanding for her and liking how relatable her actions were, in a way, and my wish for her to get proper councelling and maybe even to get over herself.
Unfortunately we still don’t know much about Brian. He’s also not very much IN the story, which I really hope will be changed in future books. I really wanted to know more about him.
While the atmosphere was creepy and cold and scary, the mystery of it all was not as interesting as in the first book in my opinion. Sure, there were clues and things to discover and riddles to solve but there was not as much as a mystery to it. Far more, this book feeds off the feeling of being trapped, for the cold to creep in and the ghosts to come closer. There was not as much backstory of the lodge to discover. I still liked the haunted feeling of being chased though. It made the book quite a delicious read.
All in all, I enjoyed some aspects of the book but think that it was a little weaker than its predecessor. The haunting and horror and atmosphere of it all was still great and I was happy that Ollie, Brian and Coco have formed such a strong friendship. It also made me wanna play more chess – just as a side note. Even though I found this book not as good as the first one I still really wanna continue with the series and am very, very curious of what’s gonna happen in the next book.