Friday, February 5, 2021

Book Review | Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall

 Thirteens is a middle grade horror novel by Kate Alice Marshall.

Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall

Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger Things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret--and the three kids brave enough to uncover it.

Twelve-year-old Eleanor has just moved to Eden Eld to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother was killed in a fire. Her birthday, which falls on Halloween, is just around the corner, and she hopes that this year will be a fresh start at a new life. But then one morning, an ancient grandfather clock counting down thirteen hours appears outside of her bedroom. And then she spots a large black dog with glowing red eyes prowling the grounds of her school. A book of fairytales she's never heard of almost willingly drops in front of her, as if asking to be read. Something is wrong in the town of Eden Eld.

Eleanor and her new classmates, Pip and Otto, are the only ones who see these "wrong things," and they also all happen to share a Halloween birthday. Bonded by these odd similarities, the trio uncovers a centuries-old pact the town has with a mysterious figure known as Mr. January: every thirteen years, three thirteen-year-olds disappear, sacrificed in exchange for the town's unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back to collect his payment and Eleanor, Pip, and Otto are to be his next offering...unless they can break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen.

I read Kate Alice Marshall's Rules for Vanishing last year, and I loved it. I completely missed the release of Thirteens. I know why. It was marketed as mystery and fantasy instead of horror. I get why publishers do that. I don't like it, but I get it. Unfortunately, those of us seeking horror can easily miss books that should be marketed straight to us. Enough of this rant, though. Let's talk about Thirteens!

I adored this book. It's strange, and it has the perfect amount of unsettling that kids would really understand. There are "wrong things" in this world that parents don't really see. Or if they do, their brains make up for it and make them forget.

There's a huge fairy tale aspect to Thirteens. If you dig dark fairy tales, this is definitely one you should put on your radar.

My burning question is is this a series? If this is a series, I'm really excited to pick up the next one. I can't wait to see what happens next. If this isn't a series, then my opinion on the ending will change completely. While there was an ending to Rules for Vanishing, I had no idea what it meant. It was left up to the reader's interpretation. The ending to Thirteens is either a great setup for the sequel or it's a classic case of cheater, cheater pumpkin eater there's no ending to this one either. Fingers crossed!

4.5/5 stars


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  1. The cover definitely has a horror vibe, but that's weird about the marketing. I guess they don't think MG readers can handle horror, lol. Great review!

  2. I loved Rules of Vanishing, so I'll definitely be checking this one out. :)

  3. I'm almost positive this is the first in a series. I was actually slightly disappointed by that, but only because I wasn't aware going in. I agree that the story needs to continue!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  4. Yes, strange about marketing and the avoidance of the use'horror'. Not sure why that is really.
    Lynn :D

  5. That sounds interesting. I hadn't heard of this one before.


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