Review of 'Book of Shadows'
Book of Shadows
By M. Verano, 2017
Young adult, Horror, Paranormal
Rating: 👻👻👻 1/2 (3.5 out of 4 boos)
“All Melanie wants is a blank book to keep a journal of her private thoughts. One day while browsing in a used bookshop, she finds the perfect blank book—smooth black leather with strange symbols in gold embossing. But once she gets home, Melanie finds herself too intimidated by the heavy vellum pages to write her trivial thoughts on them. Her Wiccan friend Lara tells her it’s better suited to be a magical spell book, called The Book of Shadows.
Melanie doesn’t know much about that stuff, but Lara, her boyfriend Caleb, and his friend Lucas, get her started by writing their own made up spells inside the book’s tempting pages. What they didn’t expect was a new spell showing up inside the book—and in handwriting none of them recognize.
Soon they discover that the spells suggested by The Book of Shadows itself do work—but not without wreaking havoc on the lives of the four teenagers.”
What’s the main character like?
As with books like Go Ask Alice and M. Verano’s Diary of a Haunting that are told in a diary format, the narrator Melanie of Book of Shadows has a strong voice that comes across as very honest and genuinely teenaged. From her issues of fitting in with her fanatically religious classmates and her frustrations of being told by others that she needs a boyfriend even though she doesn’t want one, Melanie is very relatable, and it’s easy to imagine her as a real girl chronicling her experimentation with forces that begin to consume her.
How scary is it?
What’s scariest about this book is how real it seems, due to Melanie’s realistic teenage voice. The events would be very frightening if happening in real life, but I managed to read this book without giving myself nightmares.
Who might like this book?
The obvious connections are the two books mentioned above, Diary of a Haunting by the same author and the older Go Ask Alice. Fans of witchy, demonic books (such as Winterwood) and movies (like The Craft or The Witch Files) and TV shows (like the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) will most likely enjoy this book as well.
What did I like best?
As with Diary of a Haunting, the whole premise of this book's author M. Verano being a real-life paranormal expert who is publishing a girl’s diary adds to the fun.
What was not so great?
One might argue the book was predictable, but that didn’t matter too much to me. It’s meant to be fun, digestible horror.