Friday, January 25, 2019

Spirit Hunters: The Island of Monsters by Ellen Oh

I really liked the first book in this series. It was rather gory and definitely creepy, but also fascinating and very satisfying. Alas, I didn't get as many kids to check it out as I'd hoped. "Too creepy!" My voracious younger readers told me. "Too long!" My reluctant, wanting-scary-books-with-pictures older readers told me. Sigh. Still, I enjoyed it myself and was pleased to finally get around to the second book.

After the events of the first book (Harper's little brother, Michael, was possessed by an evil spirit) life has gone back to normal. Sort of. Harper now has the tacit but uncomfortable permission of her parents to pursue her training as a shaman with her Korean grandmother, she's finally back together with her best-ghost-friend Rose and... of course things start going wrong.


After a run-in with a terrifying monster, Harper is devastated to lose her ghost-friend Rose. She's even more reluctant to accompany her family on their vacation to a tropical island - one that is giving both her and her grandmother a really bad feeling. However, there's no way to get out of it and off she goes. Her worst fears come true when she discovers horrible, monstrous demons, rakshasas from Hindu mythology, inhabit the island. And there are even darker secrets lurking in the grove... and they're not all in the past.

Harper must draw on all her courage, strength, and the help and guidance of her friends if she, and her family, are going to survive their tropical island vacation.

This is gory - there are disemboweled corpses. Just so you know. But not described in extreme detail, so I personally didn't think this was as scary as the average horror movie that kids watch. It's mostly atmospheric horror and the mounting pressure of secrets and Harper's family's refusal to acknowledge what's happening, even after the events of the first book.

Verdict: If you have readers who loved the first book and like atmospheric, skillfully written horror, they will be eager to read this satisfying sequel.

ISBN: 9780062430113; Published September 2018 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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