The Twig Man is a spine-tinglingly chilling, dark read which absolutely gripped me from the ominous warning in the opening, and kept me enthralled throughout: an edge-of-your seat, page-turning adventure brimming with danger, excitement and just the right amount of horror to keep readers shivering with equal amounts of delight and fright.
Eleven-year-old Ari lives in Hanging Hill on the outskirts of the woods, woods which he blames for the loss of his best friend and sister, Lana. Whilst his parents, the locals and the Police all think that Lana chose to leave a year ago, Ari knows differently. He is convinced that his sister would never leave him behind and believes that she has been taken by the Twig Man, a monster in the woods who has been taking children for years.
When Ari chases a strange black cat into the woods, he meets Timmy who whispers that the Twig Man has awoken. Can Ari find the courage to face the terrifying monster and bring his sister home, or will the Twig Man take his next victim, the young boy who dared to wake him?
Oh my spooky goodness! This is one of the most atmospheric, eerily creepy middle-grade horror books I’ve read – and I loved it! I can only manage to ride rollercoasters if they’re in the dark and then I find them both scary and exciting and that is exactly the feeling reading this darkly mysterious adventure left me with. I felt inexorably drawn towards the darkness in the woods alongside Ari and Timmy, feeling their fear, determination and courage as they fight against a monster who extends his control over the plants, insects and animals of the woods to deliciously frightening effect.
I loved the twists and revelations and the sharp edge of danger nuanced with hope. The depiction of the Twig Man is just perfect: scary, dangerous and seriously creepy, an urban myth come to life and looking for revenge. His essence permeates the mystery and insidiously reaches towards Ari, drawing him ever closer, closer to both terrible danger and to the incredible truth.
I really liked the friendship which develops between Ari and Timmy. Timmy is the first one who believes Ari when he tells him that his sister did not run away, and the boys, despite some arguments, develop a mutual bond of trust and support. Neither are used to having friends and navigate the path together whilst dealing with the never-fading threat from the Twig Man, prepared to face him together.
This is THE most perfect spine-tingling, spooky adventure to read on a dark evening with the lights definitely on! A story of friendship, sibling bonds and hope in the face of danger, darkness and a deadly threat that is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. Thrillingly perfect for readers of 9+.
Thank you to Hashtag Press and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.