Book Review: The Raventree Society Season 1 by JE Purrazzi
For my first #Indiecember read, I decided to finish up the last two episodes in JE Purrazzi's Raventree Society series. Since I've now read the entire thing, I wanted to go ahead and review the series as a whole here.
I have to start off by saying that I don't scare easily. It's really hard for a story or a horror movie or anything like that to make me actually afraid, and usually when I do get scared, it's because whatever threat the characters are experiencing in the situation is something that feels like it could actually happen. In other words, monsters and ghosts generally aren't all that scary to me. So I don't think there was ever a point in reading any of these episodes that I was actually scared. There were definitely some suspenseful parts, some creepy parts. But scary? Not for me. That's not a knock on the story in any way. I think there are definitely people who would be scared reading this stuff. And even though I wasn't scared, I don't think that took anything away from the reading experience. The ghosts and hauntings and overall creepy atmosphere were all still interesting to read about, and there were definitely some suspenseful moments that pulled me into the story and made me concerned for the characters' well-being.
And that's really what makes this series work. It's about the characters, particularly protagonist Kyle. The descriptions and the mystery and all the creepy things going on in these stories are well-written and definitely pull it all together, but none of that would have meant anything if I hadn't been invested in Kyle, and through him, Tyler. I said this in my review of the first episode, but I really appreciated Kyle's point-of-view. We're in his head the entire time, so it helps that he has a strong enough voice to carry the story. I have to admit that sometimes I found him to be really immature and frustrating. Especially in the beginning of episode 5, I found myself repeatedly asking, "Dude, what are you doing?" Still, he was definitely a complex, well-developed character, and his internal conflict often served to drive or build on some of the external conflict. I always love that.
My favorite two episodes of the series are episode 1 and episode 3. Episode 1 takes place in a hotel and was reminiscent of Stephen King's "1408," which is one of my favorite short stories (and horror movies) ever. It sets things up really well and brings the reader right into the action. Episode 3 was also especially good, and if there was any point in the season where I was the most creeped out, it definitely would have been here. The ending of episode 5 was also really good and packed a serious emotional punch. I was surprised to find myself getting suddenly a little choked up while reading the last couple of pages. I hadn't realized I was that emotionally invested in these characters, especially since it had been months between the time I finished episode 3 and finally finished up the last two episodes. I think that speaks to just how well the author does developing these characters.
If you like ghost stories, suspense, and complex characters, I'd definitely recommend giving The Raventree Society a try.