I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Wicked House Publishing on March 24, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Adult, Horror
Format: ARC, eBook
THE RITUAL meets Dan Simmons' THE TERROR.
When Ryne Burdette inherits his family's old hunting cabin deep in the Yukon wilderness, he wants to say no. Nothing much is left in that place except for unpleasant memories and the smoke of old burns. But after a tragic year, he sees a weekend trip to the cabin with his best friends as a way to recuperate and begin again. But there is something strange about these woods. As a winter storm moves in, the animals begin acting strangely, and the natural laws of the wilderness seem to fall apart. Then, the soft voices start whispering through the trees. Something is watching them. As the storm gets worse and the woods get darker, the three friends must dive into the darkest waters of the Burdette family lineage. Because the horrible truth is deep, resting in the shadowed places no one wants to look.
When I first saw this book as a “Read Now” on NetGalley, I passed it up as honestly, I haven’t had the best luck with “Read Now” horror books from NetGalley. But then I saw an ad from Wicked House Publishing on Instagram for The Broken Places by Blaine Daigle and suddenly I had to give it a try. I’m so glad I did!
In the book’s description they say it is The Ritual meets Dan Simmons’ The Terror. Well, I haven’t read either book but I’ve seen the movie The Ritual and let me tell you, it’s not a bad description at all. But let’s get down to our CAWPILE review…
I’m only going to detail our three main characters because they’re the ones we deal with during the majority of the book. All three have their own baggage and each person’s baggage is unique to them. I’m not detailing their baggage here because I’m not spoiling the book…
Ryne is an interesting character – very broody, very moody. Once you have his backstory you’ll understand why. I like him a lot, even though he can be a bit of an ass at times. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just saying, he can be a bit of an ass at times. Or at least he seems like a bit of an ass at times. You’ll meet him first, although when you meet him he’s only 8 years old. But he’s a fairly likeable character in spite of everything.
Shawn is one of Ryne’s two best friends. They’ve been friends since childhood and Ryne considers Shawn a brother. Shawn has baggage as well, but his is more of a physical baggage than mental – unlike his friends. Shawn is also a staunch believer in telling Ryne like it is, which Ryne needs sometimes. Just saying. I like Shawn because I’m the same way – I will tell you like it is if that’s what you need to hear.
The third main character is Shawn and Ryne’s other best friend – also considered a brother by Ryne – Noah. Noah has mental baggage stemming from an accident, that you will be told about. Of the three I found his baggage to be the most relatable, even though I’ve actually experience more of Ryne’s issues than Noah’s. But for some reason, I just found Noah to be a very relatable character. He has grit and determination and I love him for it.
The majority of this book takes place in Ryne’s ancestral cabin in the Yukon forests and it takes place during a storm. Throw in a creepy town with creepy people and animals in the forests who act strangely and you’ve got the perfect mix for a good horror novel. And trust me, this atmosphere is very, very unsettling. I have to hand it to Blaine Daigle, because he created an immensely weird, creepy vibe that stays with you throughout the book. Great job with the atmosphere.
I have to say, I find a lot of indie horror authors or horror authors published by small or indie publishing houses to have rather horrible writing styles. I mean to the point I can’t finish the book because I can’t get past the writing style. That was absolutely not the case with Blaine Daigle. His writing style flows smoothly through the story and doesn’t detract at all from the story. He doesn’t use $100 words or try to be fancy, he just writes what the story needs and that’s it. It’s a beautiful writing style that I’m hoping to see more of in the future.
The plot to this book is quite interesting. An ancestral cabin in the forests of the Yukon, passed down for generations that holds family secrets. A trio of friends going up for a weekend of hunting at said cabin. None of them realizing the horrors they’re about to become a part of or that those horrors are directly related to the cabin and the family secrets contained within. It’s a wonderful plot and easy to follow along with. It’s just a great all around plot – not too complex, not too simple, and not to weird. It’s just right. I love the concept.
This book will keep you guessing what’s going to happen next. You’ll want to keep reading because you need to know the fate of our characters. Putting this book down was extremely difficult for me – I only did so when I absolutely needed to do other things. The “now what the hell is going on” vibe is just perfect for keeping one entertained.
Things progress in a logical order, although I can’t say everything that happens is logical. But it is a horror novel and logic doesn’t hold a big place in horror. After all, the supernatural isn’t exactly logical, is it? If a horror novel has a lot of logic in it, we have an issue. There are no issues with the logic component of The Broken Places.
The ending to this book was actually quite satisfying. While the epilogue made me think at first that perhaps there’d been a different outcome to the ending than I’d originally thought, that wasn’t the case. But that was fine because I understood the concept of why the ending was what it was. I was a bit surprised about one part of the ending, but thinking back on it, it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise1It involves the appearance of a specific animal… which if you read the book you’ll understand..
The Broken Places was a very good book. I highly recommend it to people who are fans of the horror genre of books or movies. If you’ve read or seen The Ritual, I’d recommend you check this book out. It has a lot of components of The Ritual but it’s not the same at all. It’s a really great book and I hope you’ll check it out.