Title: The Ghost Prison
Author: Joseph Delaney
Date(s) read: September 12, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade Horror
Source: NetGalley (ARC)
‘This is the entrance to the Witch Well and behind that door you’d face your worst nightmare. Don’t ever go through there.’
Night falls, the portcullis rises in the moonlight, and young Billy starts his first night as a prison guard. But this is no ordinary prison. There are haunted cells that can’t be used, whispers and cries in the night… and the dreaded Witch Well. Billy is warned to stay away from the prisoner down in the Witch Well. But who could it be? What prisoner could be so frightening? Billy is about to find out…
An unforgettable ghost story from the creator of the Wardstone Chronicles (Spook’s Apprentice) series.
Illustrated throughout by the incredible Scott M Fischer, this beautifully produced book will make the perfect Halloween gift.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the eARC copy for review!
I think I’m becoming to have a lot of reservations when it comes to middle grade horror novels. Some authors do horror really well for young children — like Neil Gaiman — but other times I feel like the stories are more hokey than scary.
I really, really wanted to like this one. It had gotten good reviews on Goodreads and really did seem scary in the synopsis, but it really was just okay for me. The scares were kept to a minimum and the focus seemed to be more on including plenty of illustrations (which I will admit were well done) rather than providing a truly bone-chilling story. I know that there’s only so much bone-chilling that can be done with a middle grade book, but I did want to feel just a little more scared than I did.
Of course, I do think that a book like this would be scary for the age-range it’s meant for. I bet that if parents were reading this late at night to their kids on a chilly, autumn night, it would provide plenty of scares! It just really isn’t a universal book meant for children and adults alike.
I was thankful that the book was a quick read — I was able to finish it in less than an hour — but in the end I wished that it had more meat, more scares, and, well, just … more everything. I’m happy that I gave it a try, but I might try something meant for an older age-range in the future.