When it comes around to October, with the nights getting darker much earlier, we brush off the summer fun and start looking for the spooky, whether that is with Halloween costumes, decorations to dress our houses, scary films to watch or with the stories we read and tell each other – it isn’t called the spooky season for no reason! And who doesn’t like spooky stories that creep you out! Stories that reach out and grab you, stories just like The Twig Man!
Last October, I read The Twig Man, the debut novel written by Sana Rasoul. The Twig Man is a spooky Middle Grade fantasy horror story for children aged between 8 and 12 years old (although teen and adult readers will also enjoy it). If children only have one book to stay up late reading under the covers by torchlight, The Twig Man is going to be it!
One year ago, a 17 year old girl, Lana, went missing, believed to have run away from home by her parents and the police. Her nearly 12 year old brother, Ari, never believed this – he believed she was taken! Taken by an urban legend – The Twig Man!
Ari and his family live in a place called Hanging Hill, next to the woods that has a very dark history. A monster has haunted these woods for 100 years. Everybody has heard the stories of The Twig Man and the missing children over the years and that if you go down to woods today it is not going to a teddy bears picnic, and you may never be seen again!
Grieving for his missing sister who was his best friend, Ari is convinced she didn’t run away and was taken by The Twig Man and is determined to get her back. But he doesn’t have much time, he has managed to awaken the monster in the woods and Ari is next on his list.
Beware the Twig Man,
the Twig Man’s hex.
Beware the Twig Man,
or you’ll be NEXT!
Overall, The Twig Man is a dark and spine-tinglingly chillingly spooky story that is a perfect children’s horror story for Halloween and beyond. It opens with an ominous warning that sinks its hooks in and keeps you gripped.
The Twig Man is an excellent enthralling and engaging eerie adventure. When a grieving 11 year old (sorry, nearly 12) follows a strange black cat into the woods a story of danger and excitement really begins. Young readers will be feeling the fear of Ari and his friend Timmy as they try to defeat the wicked Twig Man who has been regularly stealing children with ease. It is packed with enough dark creepy horror to keep children shivering with frightful delight whilst being chillingly entertained and absorbed in the story.
With The Twig Man being able to control his surroundings, including the plant life, insects and animals, the woods are a very frightening place to be, especially for children.
Sana Rasoul has created a very enjoyable and suitably scary tale for children. The atmosphere of the family dynamics, dark woods and the unsettling Twig Man leap out of the pages.
The disappearance of a family member has an enormous effect on the family, especially on Ari who no longer has the freedoms that he once enjoyed with his parents becoming very over-protective. With no one believing him about the monster that took his sister, Ari is all alone until he meets Timmy in the woods. Timmy not only believes in The Twig Man but is going to help Ari not only prove it but help to get Lana back. They become best friends and have to face their darkest fears together.
The Twig Man is a book that is just purrrfect for Halloween (or anytime of the year) with mysterious black cats, possessed animals and an urban myth that is really alive. A story of sibling bonds, family dynamics, true friendship and never giving up in the face of fear. With brilliant characters, excellent writing and plenty of scary tension that slowly builds until it explodes all over the pages, The Twig Man is a fairly quick read and one that you will want to keep reading chapter after chapter into the dead of night (just make sure that there are no branches from a tree outside your bedroom window).
An excellent debut novel that is written extremely well, has some brilliant characters and draws you into a tale of fantasy and horror that is exciting and frightening. Kids will love it!
RRP: £7.99 (Paperback) / £2.99 (Kindle)