Here’s another book that was recommended to me by Lilyn over on Sci-Fi & Scary. I read her review and decided to try the book myself. Now, I can’t wait to try the next book in this duology.
Middle-grade Horror; Fantasy
Watch Hollow, book 1
Deep within the enchanted woods in the town of Watch Hollow stands the once-grand Blackford House, whose halls hold a magical secret: a giant cuckoo clock that does much more than tell time. But when the clock’s gears cease to turn, an evil presence lurking among the trees begins to come out of the shadows.
When Lucy and Oliver Tinker arrive in Watch Hollow, they have no idea that anything is wrong. A mysterious stranger has made their father an offer that’s too good for him to refuse. All Mr. Tinker needs to do is fix the clock at Blackford House and fistfuls of gold coins are his to keep.
It doesn’t take long, however, for the children to realize that there is more to Blackford House than meets the eye. And before they can entirely understand the strange world they’ve stumbled into, Lucy and Oliver must join forces with a host of magical clock animals to defeat the Garr—a vicious monster that not only wants Blackford House for itself, but also seeks to destroy everything the Tinkers hold dear. (Goodreads)
I read Watch Hollow for the Wyrd & Wonder reading event held in May, when I read only fantasy novels. Watch Hollow is first a fantasy novel, but an old, creaky house containing a huge, mysterious clock that operates it and that’s surrounded by dark menacing woods that creep ever closer gives it the feel of horror. The story isn’t scary, but it is creepy and can be unsettling for some young ones. However, there are many light moments in the story, and there are even some lovable fantastical creatures to look forward to who all help Lucy, the protagonist, to keep the evil presence in the woods, the Garr, at bay.
I enjoyed the story although I didn’t expect to. I was quickly swept up in it as I wondered what it’s about and what would happen next. Although the bulk of the story takes place at Blackford House, there’s still much adventure and fun as Lucy works with her fantastical friends to figure out what the Garr is, enter its territory in the creepy woods, and evade it while trying to save others. The story flows at an even pace, but it kept my attention throughout and was a fun, exciting read.
I like how it ends as well. Although Lucy’s father obviously cares about both Lucy and her brother, Oliver, it’s also obvious that he favors Oliver over Lucy. Oliver and Lucy have a very close relationship, but it doesn’t seem to be true of Lucy and her father. But by the end of the story, it seems that Lucy has grown closer to her father, and her father has learned to value Lucy’s insights and opinions as much as Oliver’s. I really like the development there.
Also, I like that this is a story about a single father with kids. I hardly read children’s books with a positive father presence or where the father knows and helps with what’s going on. Mostly, there are either no parents or the parent who is involved is the mother (which is okay, but I like seeing more father presence as well).
Of course, I can’t wait to read the next book. The end of this made me wonder if something would happen next. At the time, I didn’t see any indication that the story would continue in another book. I took to Goodreads to ask the author (I really needed to know) and he confirmed that there will be another book! I was so happy. 😊
I enjoyed it. The story is entertaining and the writing is pretty good so, yeah! It gets 5 stars. I highly recommend it to you, especially if you want something quick and fun to read for Halloween or a Friday 13th celebration or if you just want to read a middle-grade novel that touches on the haunted house/creepy woods trope.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
It’s a good read. I’ve recommended it to parents and kids at the bookstore too and they bought it!! 😀