Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly - ADVISABLE

Priestley, Chris The Dead of Winter, 218 pgs. Bloomsbury, 2012. $16.99. Language: PG (1 swear, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG

Michael is an orphan who is invited to stay at the remote country estate of his guardian for the Christmas holidays. Michael is reluctant to go, but it is put into very clear terms that he has no choice. His mother wished it and as he has no other options he must agree. From the beginning Michael realizes that this will not be a typical holiday. As bizarre incidences increase in frequency and menace, Michael begins to realize that this unhappy home is harboring a dark secret that he may be wise to leave alone.

This book is part psychological thriller part ghost story. Michael has inherited his father’s sensitivity to the supernatural and this is one of the main reasons his guardian has brought him to the estate. The forces at work in the house are evil and the overall tone of the book is one of great sadness. The story is intriguing and the writing keeps the reader interested and wanting to figure out the mystery alongside Michael. Themes of child abuse and the occult are touched on, which can be a quite scary at times. The payoff is satisfying although the ending is one you cannot really call happy.

MS/HS – ADVISABLE. AEB Social Studies Teacher

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