Dead Voices (Small Spaces, book 2)
By: Katherine Arden
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!
Best for: 12 and up
If this is middle grade, why was I so freaked out?!
I know Katherine Arden best from The Winternight Trilogy, her fantastic historical fantasy series set in long ago Russia. It’s a wonderful story, full of amazing characters, connections to myths and traditions, and while it’s not a scare story…there are some legit moments throughout when you probably won’t want to be reading alone in the dark.
That little intro is to say: Katherine Arden knows how to be creepy! The real proof is in this really fun middle grade series that began with Small Spaces back in 2018, and continued with Dead Voices 2019, Dark Waters in 2021, and a fourth book without a current release date but hopefully soon. In the spirit of RL Stine, these books are intentionally, purposely, skillfully, and truly spooky! I was impressed with Small Spaces. I was freaked out by Dead Voices.
I was surprised by the creepiness of Small Spaces. In that first book, our hero’s 6th grade class goes on a Fall field trip to a farm to enjoy a corn maze–only to discover the farm is cursed and the terrible rotter called The Smiling Man is pulling all the strings. I’m never, ever going to look at scarecrows the same way again. In Dead Voices, it’s now Winter, and our heroes (who by now are scarred veterans of scary) are traveling together to a mountain lodge to enjoy some skiing. Of course, they found out too late that lodge used to be a freaky orphanage were bad things happened and now is haunted. Dead Voices was super scary ghost story, and I loved it!
Aside from the spookiness, there are no content concerns. Dead Voices is perfect for brave 12 year old’s and up. Now off to Dark Waters!