Narrator: Pun Bandhu
Published by Blackstone Publishing on October 11, 2022
Source: Audible Plus
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs 25 mins
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An island oasis turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one in this haunting novel from the highly acclaimed author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy.
Pristine beaches, lush greenery, and perfect weather, the island of Kisapmata would be the vacation destination...if not for the curse. The Philippine locals speak of it in hushed voices and refuse to step foot on the island. They know the lives it has claimed. They won't be next.
A Hollywood film crew won't be dissuaded. Legend claims a Dreamer god sleeps, waiting to grant unimaginable powers in exchange for eight sacrifices. The producers are determined to document the evidence. And they convince Alon, a local teen, to be their guide.
Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions. Alon knows they are falling victim to the island's curse. If Alon can't convince them to leave, there is no telling who will survive. Or how much the Dreamer god will destroy...
YA Horror – not my usual genre, which is why I love reading challenges, they get me out of the mystery aisle occasionally. Tales of a cursed island in the Philippines bring a television crew hoping to gather footage to produce a new reality show starring a famous ghost investigator who needs to rehabilitate his image. No one lives on the island, but the film crew needs a guide and they find a teenager, Alon. Alon is the only one willing to help them, but even they tell the crew that it would be best for everyone to leave. Most of the legends are true and people could end up hurt. Alon stays and helps, though, as they believe that’s the best way for the most people to survive. Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions.
The island is appropriately beautiful and spooky. The Americans are, with a few exceptions, disrespectful of the island and dismissive of the legends. Even when things go downhill, which they do quickly, the crew continues filming. There’s a nice twist or two at the end, too.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. The setting was fabulous, the characters were well-drawn, and the plot moved at a good pace. I liked the foundation in Filipino folklore. There’s also a sweet romantic subplot that added a bit to the book for me.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: