I received this as an E-Arc from the author but all opinions are my own.
Genre: middle-grade, horror
Published: 2017, self-published
Ever since he could remember Simon Santiago could see and talk to the dead. When his parents are killed in a train accident, he is sent to live with his estranged con man of an uncle who intends to use poor Simon for his own greedy needs. Soon Simon is put on as his uncle’s assistant in a Ghost Expelling agency and carries out the hard work for his uncle: getting rid of the ghosts.
Now thirteen with his ability at full maximum Simon is ready to take on bigger tasks with his uncle’s booming agency getting more and more publicity and calls day by day. When a phone call comes in from a desperate librarian at an infamously haunted library, Simon is all too eager to get to work. But when they arrive at the sprawling mansion of a library, Simon quickly discovers that there’s something else haunting the library and its thirst for Simon’s soul is dangerously clear from the moment he steps foot into the building.
With the help of a librarian’s niece and a mute spirit of the library, Simon is determined to find out what is really going on before his soul as well as his uncle’s are added to the ever-growing system of The Library of Souls. Will Simon and his new friend make it out alive?
You can check out the book trailer here
Richard Denney is one of my favorite YouTubers and when I heard he was releasing a new book and he was letting his followers receive E-Arcs I of course had to jump straight on that. I had intended to buy it at some point but, due to low income, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon so I am thrilled.
This is about a young boy called Simon who I believe is Spanish and can talk to ghosts. His parents died tragically and he was told to live with his Uncle Monty, a guy who isn’t that friendly. One day, they decide to ghost hunt a library of souls that has been haunted for years and nobody has been able to successfully banish them. Simon and Monty are here to change that.
Unlike a lot of other middle grade horrors, I feel like this involved a lot of ghost characters that were really interesting and spooky. It gave the whole book this really on edge, uneasy feel (kind of like how a Stephen King book makes you feel, but for kids). I liked the friendship between Jade and Simon a lot, too, as you don’t often see healthy friendships between a girl and a boy in middle grade (without it eventually becoming a relationship, that is).
This was also like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (but actually in the horror genre, there is no misleading this time) in that there is some creepy photographs inside the story as this is what Simon does as part of his ghost hunting and it’s a really nice addition. Because I read an E-Arc and not a finished copy (which I will still buy eventually), not all the artwork was available yet but for the artwork I did get to see I really enjoyed.
The writing style was also great. If you’ve read any reviews on my blog before, you’ll know that short and snappy writing styles are generally my favorite because, even in middle grade, you get stories that talk too much about one aspect of the story and too little about another but this wasn’t like that. It was fairly even and balanced throughout.
The only downside I could really say here is that I wish the story was developed more so that we got a more in depth relationship with Simon, Jade and Uncle Monty as well as the souls at the library and we do get to hear about their stories (which was wonderful), but I’d love to hear even more about their stories and what brought them there and why they were there in a bit more detail. This book ended on a cliffhanger, so I hope this means there’s a book two coming next year? Maybe?
Overall, I give this one a four out of five stars and I can’t wait to read his other works as I really enjoy the way they’re written and the spooky elements to them. Release date is the 22/08/17 as said in the book trailer but this may be subject to change.