Summary (from the publisher):
Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire.
Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie’s watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE.
With Mr. Voland’s help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted.
Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces captured my middle grade heart in 2019. This spooky and scary middle grade series from the author of the adult fantasy series, The Bear and the Nightingale will be composed of four books, each following friends Ollie, Coco and Brian during each season in spooky Vermont. The latest installment, Dead Voices, follows the three friends over their winter break at a ski resort. However, their vacation is filled with strange happenings, including the arrival of a ghost hunter, and the particularly bad snowstorm isn’t helping.
Like Small Spaces, Katherine Arden provides such a vividly wintery and spooky atmosphere in Dead Voices. I honestly just could have read a story about Ollie, Coco and Brian hanging out at the Egg or at the ski resort playing chess and eating Ollie’s dad’s treats! Although this story definitely screams winter, I will say that I think I preferred the spooky Halloween-like atmosphere in Small Spaces more. While Small Spaces‘ plot does deal with ghosts, Dead Voices definitely screams ghost story more. Blame it on my own personal reading taste perhaps, but I really wasn’t too invested in the main storyline.
What really captured my attention in Dead Voices was Ollie and Coco’s relationships with their parents. I broke out my reading tabs to mark such beautiful and heart-breaking dialogue between Ollie and her father about ghosts and the memories of loved ones, especially considering Ollie’s mother. I found Coco and her mother’s relationship to be really charming. And speaking of charming, Coco, Ollie and Brian’s friendship was just so heartfelt. I’m interested in seeing how their dynamic may shift or develop, in light of Dead Voices‘ ending. While Dead Voices stands out for its spookiness, it’s emphasis on friendship and loss are standouts themselves in the middle grade genre.