#23in23 – Black Forest by Laramie Dean

Second one down in the #23in23 reading challenge! I’ve been feeling the horror books from the list. I do love that the first two had woods/tree lines on the covers.

Thanks to Inkshares for the gifted copy (from awhile ago) in exchange for my honest review

BLACK FOREST – Laramie Dean (Released November 1st, 2022)

Book Description:

Nathan has always been haunted by what he calls “deaders,” frightening, disfigured creatures—once human but now hungry and relentless ghosts. After a séance to banish them goes awry, Nathan escapes high school to start over at Waxman University in idyllic Garden City, Montana. But when young men begin to go missing from campus, Nathan finds that the deaders have returned, more frightening and hungrier than ever.

With the help of the mysterious Theo, Nathan seeks to learn the truth behind the disappearances. But something worse than the deaders begins to haunt Nathan . . . something with glowing yellow eyes and giant wings. As reality grows thin, things emerge from the cracks. Is Theo what he seems? Or could he be some kind of monster? Will Nathan learn the truth before he vanishes into the darkness?

My Thoughts: 3/5 stars

Reading the synopsis, I was super excited to learn more about the “deaders” and these non-human entities that were plaguing Nathan. Seances going awry? Hauntings? Potential monsters? Sign me up! BLACK FOREST wasn’t as much of the horror novel I was anticipating (based on the synopsis) but more in the territory of a coming-of-age story with some eerie stuff going on in the character’s past. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Nathan spent a good portion of his life being haunted by what he called “deaders”. Terrifying things that can only be described as disfigured and non-human. Not gonna lie, I’d want to escape my hometown too, on the off chance that these things couldn’t follow me. Nathan is now at college and trying to find his place in the world outside of his haunting past. Of course, it doesn’t last long because there is something even worse starting to come to him. I don’t know about you, but seeing something with nasty yellow eyes and having wings, I’d be out of there.

Overall, it was a well-written story. Parts felt a little long and I wish there was more horror elements to it. While I did like seeing Nathan coming into his own and having the queer representation, I can’t say I loved the character. He needed to stop and think about what he was saying/doing a few too many times throughout the book. But we can’t like all the characters, right? Was this my favorite? Not necessarily. Would I still read this author and recommend the book? Absolutely.


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