So Kluitman, a Dutch publisher, is bringing out the K.R. Alender books in Dutch under the series name: Horrorland. I was so excited as I love horror, and could definitely use more. I do believe I have read this book though in English, because a lot of things, despite being in Dutch, were recognisable to me. The grandma, the dolls, the scary things. But either I forgot to add it to Goodreads or I never finished it. Haha. Well, thankfully, the Dutch edition was very engaging and I just flew through it.
I have then spend two days thinking if I should write this review in Dutch (as it is a Dutch book) or English (more readers + original is English). And as you can see, I decided on English.
In this exciting and scary read perfect for Halloween, we meet Josie and her family. They have just moved to live with their grandma and well.. Josie is not happy. And as she finds out she won’t be able to settle that well as there is something lurking in the woods. The tone was set quite early in the book. From the start you just knew there was something off, and the rules the grandma set (which at times frustrated me) didn’t make things better. Don’t open windows after dark. No dolls (that I can agree with). And no going into the forest, and specifically the house there. As you can see, I would have run away as soon as I could. XD But that is not even the scariest part. The scariest parts are still to come and they begin with nightmares featuring dolls and scary things and voices in the dark calling out Josie’s name. Yup. Time to leave. But no one is leaving any time soon and with each page things got scarier. The nightmares got real. A doll was added and made me want to chuck the book (sorry, I absolutely dislike dolls).
Josie was a great character. A true teen. And I don’t blame her for her moments of acting out. She just lost everything, is stuck in a creepy forest with a grandma who terrifies her, there is something lurking in the woods, her sister may also be in danger. There is no internet/wifi. People at school are terrible, though we do get explanations on some parts later. I loved that despite being scared shitless she showed tons of bravery, especially in the later parts of the book. Especially when things got truly scary. She was a fun character to follow in this scary tale.
Vanessa was such a red flag. I knew instantly what was going on, and I think (or I hope) that this was the intention of the author. I was still curious on how long it would take before we would find out what was going on with her.
The ending, while I loved it, also felt a bit rushed, a bit too easy. I would have liked a bit more tension, a bit more danger.
The translation is perfect. It never felt stilted (what happens at times with translations), everything was creepy and scary. And from what I can see most of the names have been kept, which is quite unique for a translation as for some reason translators here believe that you need to change names.. often changing them to names I never heard of. XD So a big big applause to the translator. Thank you.
All in all, if you are in for a scary read I would highly recommend this one. Either in English or Dutch.