Thursday 23 September 2021

Book Review + Playlist (Blog Tour) | To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames

Publication Date: 21st September 2021 by Page Street Kids
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery, Horror   

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Content warnings: Gore! lots of gore/blood (human and animal), body horror (human and animal),claustrophobia, hallucinations/nightmares, death, animal death, parent death (mentioned), parental conflict (being afraid of a parent), mention of alcohol/drinking, mention of self-harm, mention of divorce, mental illness (perceived/actual), mention of child death/killing, mention of suicide, drowning, paranormal activity. 


Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumours than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there. Clem and Nina form a perfect loopbest friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomenasleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.


My Thoughts

"It holds her 'in it's mouth, like a lion with a mouse,' and it's still deciding whether or not to bite down."  

The perfect atmospheric, sinister read for the spooky season. To Break a Covenant is a YA horror that follows the haunting of Moon Basin after a mine explosion and the four girls that find themselves targeted by the mine and the horrifying secrets it holds. Described as a 'chilling, feminist thriller', I jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour for this book cause I can't resist anything eerie and mysterious. Being a debut I had no idea what to expect from this author but rest assured, this is a sinister read that will have you constantly watching your back. 

I loved all of the different elements that this book contained when it comes to the characters and relationships. We've got a wlw romance (it's childhood friends which makes it even better), a strong sense of queer identity and a fantastic group of friends that gives me The Craft vibes but without the certifiable one. Clem, Nina, Lisey and Piper are ride or die, each with distinctive personalities who I absolutely loved dearly. It's rare when you find a group of friends in YA fiction that you can just tell are deeply loyal to each other whilst still having normal arguments and clashes as well and it made the book so much more then your normal horror story. 

Clem as a main character is an authentic voice and I feel she was the right one out of the group to follow through this story. She has the strength and fortitude that makes her the backbone of her group whilst still handling her normal teenage problems of figuring out her future and coming to terms with her feelings for her best friend.     

The horror element is incredibly strong though, I didn't really know what to expect but the creepiness of the small town and the mysteriousness of the mine grows and grows until you're held in it's grasp without even realising. The horror is subtle, similar to Blair Witch or maybe It Follows, where you have that disturbing feeling without the overload of gore and jump scares. Certain scenes will definitely have you on edge. The town of Moon Basin itself feels haunted, the residents all know something isn't right but it's the whole 'ignore it and it will go away' situation. Ames really nails that community feel of small town horror though. 

The inclusion of transcripts from ghost hunting shows that have previously visited the town was such a clever idea. I'm a huge fan of mixed media, podcast elements and such and having these interviews and dialogue from residents talking about the history of the mine and the town really helped heighten the tenseness and gives you an insight into it's past.

This book deserves to have so much more hype around it. I want to be friends with this group of girls so badly, that's how much I loved them! I just want to protect them and keep them safe from all the bad things. I loved the sinister atmosphere of this book, certain scenes gave me goose bumps and definitely spooked me a little. In the end this was the ideal book to creep me out and then just completely break my heart. Perfect for fans of Sawkill Girls and Sadie. I can't wait to see what Alison Ames puts out next!    



A selection of songs that give me eerie, girls in horror films vibes! 💀

About the Author

Alison Ames is a writer based in Colorado. Her debut novel To Break A Covenant will be published in fall 2021.

Author Links:

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I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Massive thank you to Page Street Kids for providing me with a review copy. A huge thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for letting me take part in the blog tour as well. 

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