Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Sometimes life can be very strange. A while back I bought the book Hex, written by Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I was drawn to it by the fact that it was being promoted as the new Dutch fantasy novel.
For some reason I put it in my bookcase and forgot about it (sorry Thomas).
Earlier this year whilst I was attending Dutch Comic Con, Thomas was there, signing books. I felt a small pang of shame as I remembered that unread book, still in my bookcase, and bummed I didn’t have it with me to get it signed.
Still, I again forgot about it, until two days ago. One of my friends posted a screenshot of the tweet made by Stephen King, the master of horror himself, praising Thomas his book. How epic and cool is that! So I liked that post and yesterday I got a friend request from Thomas himself.
Maybe this was the universe telling me, read the book! Ok, ok. I got my copy, settled on the couch and… read the book in one go.
Now I have read loads of books, the fact that I own over 700 of them is prove as well. And there aren’t many books I read in one sitting, where I am drawn into it, forget the world around me and keep turning page after page, desperately wanting to know what happens next. This book did.
Slight note. As I understand it, the English version is slightly different from the Dutch version. I read the Dutch one, but now I want to get my hands on an English copy as well.
Synopsis according to Goodreads:
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves. Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.
Author info according to Goodreads:
Thomas Olde Heuvelt
- Born in Nijmegen, Netherlands
Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book. “HEX is reminiscent of vintage Stephen King, and I can think of no higher praise. Chilli
Dutch novelist THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT (1983) is the author of five novels and many short stories. His work has appeared in many languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French. In 2015, his story The Day the World Turned Upside Down was the first ever translated work to win a Hugo Award. Two more of his stories have been nominated for both Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2016, Olde Heuvelt’s critically acclaimed novel HEX, which became a bestseller in The Netherlands, will be launched around the globe (In the US by MacMillan/Tor and in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). Warner Bros. is currently developing a TV series based on the book.
I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers.
What I loved about this book, first and foremost is that it is set in the region I originally come from (for the people who read the Dutch version of the book). I was born in a smallish town in ‘Brabant’ although not as small as the town ‘Beek’ mentioned in the book. But how the people and townsfolk act is pretty much how I remember it (minus the horror stuff, but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised). It has nothing compared to living in a larger city where you are lucky if your neighbours greet you at all.
Not until the second chapter you finally begin to get a grasp what the story is about, and throughout the book you begin to grasp the situation about Hex. I imagine when reading the book for a second time you will get a lot of aha moments, small little signs you missed the first time because know you know.
It is amazing how Thomas managed to capture todays life, with texting, popular language and big brother is watching you and at the same time describes that small town feel and throw you back into the middle ages as well.
Some of the horror stuff, nope no spoilers, you should really read the book yourself, reminded me a lot of the books written by Bridget Wood and which I think is high praise. Thomas has captured multiple important ethical dilemmas while being subjected to years and years of indoctrination and pear pressure in such a way that it’s almost scary, even if applied to today’s everyday life and how we as people react to say the refugees’ crisis.
If you are susceptible to nightmares I suggest reading this book during the day, or keep a light on at night when you go to bed. Unfortunately, I’m past this point, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t scare me at some points.
Not one point during the book I had a moment where I had that feel of pages being filled, just for the sake of creating pages (which some books do). From beginning to end it captures you and I hate myself sometimes for having a high reading speed and finishing it in a couple of hours.
The book leaves you hunger for more, but as I said, luckily I can read the English version as well!
Thomas, ik had niet gedacht dat Hex zo ontzettend goed zou zijn. Schrijf meer van dit soort boeken, je hoort thuis in de fantasy wereld en ik kan niet wachten tot een eventuele verfilming en meer van je fantastische verhalen.
This books gets a well-deserved 5 out of 5 star review and I recommend you get your hands on a copy and read it, over and over again, because this is a book you can read multiple times.
Have you read it?
Lots of love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.