REVIEW | Dread Wood | Jennifer Killick

Rating: 8.71 / 4 stars

This was an unexpectedly fun romp of a thriller. I picked it up as a quick read to break up my other reads because I had several very heavy and complicated epic fantasies on the go, and ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. DREAD WOOD was not what I expected, but honestly? It was better, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series and see what happens next. If this book is anything to go by, it will be surprising, spooky and so much fun.

Character - 8 Atmosphere - 9 Writing - 8 Plot - 9 Intrigue - 10 Logic - 8 Enjoyment - 9 Rating: 8.71 / 4 stars
Rating: 8.71 / 4 stars

About the book:

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute . . .? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge . . .

What did I think?

Hallie, Angelo, Gus and Naira aren’t friends, just classmates. They know each other in that awkward way of school friends, where you’ve spent a lot of time in close proximity but don’t really know each other. And I like that a lot. It meant that I got to enjoy reading their friendships build and them learning each others strengths under… extremely creepy stress. I ended the book really loving all four of them, and I can’t wait to read more of the series to see more of their character arcs.

I looked at the cover of this book (which is gorgeous) again after I got partway through and realised that I should have noticed that there were loads of spiders all over the book. I didn’t notice this, which meant that I had a very creepy surprise when I realised that the kids were facing off against giant spiders. I absolutely hate spiders, so I was very tense – much more than a middle-grade book can usually pull out of me. It’s a sci-fi style horror with giant spiders and mad scientists, and I loved the way that it made my skin crawl. There’s plenty of humour to balance out the scares and this is the perfect book for those of us who loved goosebumps and want to relive that feeling.

I picked it up on a whim after seeing loads of reviews on the blog tour, and I’m so glad that I did. Jennifer Killick has done an amazing job at creating a very tense environment that had me racing through the book to find out what happened. There’s also a light touch as it handles child poverty, bullying and disability, and I really liked the way that our main characters acknowledged and tried to make amends for their mistakes. The ending was satisfying and I cannot wait to read more.

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Release Date: 31st March 2022

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