Starting Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt was a slightly confusing experience at first. We are put into this town where there is a spooky witch walking around town with her eyes and mouth sewn up, plus she is in chains. There is very little explanation why this is happening and we learn quickly that people just see her as, “Oh that is just Katherine doing her thing,” and, “Oh it’s alright Katherine is just chilling in the dining room with us while we eat dinner, no big deal.” Because of this really crazy twist on how the paranormal entity is perceived in this book, it can start out being a little wonky but soon I figured out what was going on. I guess this witch has cursed this town and basically everyone keeps her a secret from the outside world because if people mess with the witch, she’ll cause everyone to kill themselves. So, at this point of the story, I was intrigued but with reservations on how the book is written.
The reason I had reservations about how this book was written is that it just didn’t flow well for me. I don’t know what it was but the book didn’t have a noticeable rhythm for me and each point of view switch sometimes reset that idea of an off rhythm. I think the point of view switching between the one family threw me off some because the chapters were rather short and the point of view would switch from father to son. Their viewpoints were similar enough that sometimes I had a hard time distinguishing between the two. The pacing of this book could have been much better with the tension ramping up. I felt that by the time we got to the end of the book there just wasn’t that natural tension and anxiety that should have been there considering what was going on. Honestly, I think we just saw too much of the witch throughout the story and not enough unexplained mystery.
I did really appreciate the history that was involved with the witch and the town of Black Spring. Most of the events dealing with the witch would be linked to something she did 300, 200, 100, or 30 years ago. Because of this, there is a logical linkage of events that then culminates in why she reacts the way she does. The family dynamics in this story were spot on. I always like to read stories about many different families and this one was no exception. I really liked how the fear of the unknown drove some of the residents of Black Springs to do things that were way out of character. At points in this story, I wasn’t sure who was more evil, Katherine, or the town. Characters become unraveled and it really delves into the strains and hidden parts of relationships that come to the surface during times of crises.
Overall, I did enjoy this book but it wasn’t that scary. There was little tension in this story for me and I wasn’t the biggest fan of Heuvelt’s writing style. There were a few moments of world-building questioning that popped up in my head with some plot holes but nothing major enough for me to really mention. I think it was a good book but I don’t think it’ll stand the test of time like other horror novels.
13/25 Possible Score
3 – Plot
3 – Characters
3 – World Building
2 – Writing Style
2 – Heart & Mind Aspect