Review of ‘Dead Voices’

Dead Voices follows Ollie, Coco, and Brian, our heroes from the last novel are caught in a trap when a family ski trip goes wrong, putting them in the crosshairs of one Mrs. Hemlock.


Dead Voices
Katherine Arden
Puffin Books

Let me begin with this: I am a thirty-one-year-old woman reading a book from the “kids” section of the bookstore. This book creeped me out. No, there were times I was frightened, reading this and suddenly very aware of all the creaks and groans my house makes.

Arden is a masterful storyteller.

After Small Spaces, Ollie, Coco, and Brian are still on edge after dealing with The Smiling Man. They still have nightmares of scarecrows and corn mazes. But they defeated him. Or did they? The Smiling Man does not like to be outsmarted or defeated.

By placing the kids in a new setting, they must contend with a haunted orphanage turned ski lodge and a blizzard keeping them locked in. Arden is incredible at building up the tension and atmosphere that makes the story chilling. From the level of detail to her use of texture in the storytelling, showing the readers the frostbitten girls, the way the animals shift position, and the dreadful Mrs. Hemlock herself, suck the reader into the story.

The reader knows something is off. They know there is a ghost running around hunting them. But what Arden does is keep the reader guessing about the return of the Smiling Man. He has a part to play here, making him even more devious than in the previous novel.


Arden also switches things up with her narrative.

In Small Spaces, Ollie was the focused voice that drove the story. It was her against the Smiling Man. This time it isn’t just her voice moving the story forward.

In Dead Voices, the story begins with Coco. Here, readers learn about Coco, her family, and her wants and fears. This time, she gets to the hero alongside Ollie, rising to the occasion even if she is a little scared. Next, she challenges the Smiling Man, using her skills and brain power to solve the puzzle of the mirrors and find a way to release the ghosts keeping them trapped.

It keeps the story fresh and engaging, keeping that pace moving while switching things up so that it does not feel exactly like the first one.

Final Thoughts

Dead Voices is a thrilling sequel to Small Spaces. With a strong eerie, and chilling atmosphere, this book will make you a little scared of the mirror and those cold winter nights, no matter your age.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: June 30, 2020Page Count: 288ppAge Range: 10 & Over
ISBN: 978-0-5255-1507-4Publisher: Puffin BooksList Price: $8.99

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