The Sacrifice Box
Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they'll never visit it alone; and they'll never take back their offerings.Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact.As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town's history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them.

The Sacrifice Box Details

TitleThe Sacrifice Box
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 11th, 2018
PublisherPenguin Random House
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Horror

The Sacrifice Box Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    This is a dark and atmospheric supernatural horror thriller set in the 1980s. The actual location is left mysteriously unclear although we do know that it is an island. It is 1982 and the main character, September 'Sep' Hope and teens Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley have spent the summer together. In the forest they find an ancient stone box to which they each consign important sacrifices to cement their recent friendships. They promise to agree a number of things, including to never return and rem This is a dark and atmospheric supernatural horror thriller set in the 1980s. The actual location is left mysteriously unclear although we do know that it is an island. It is 1982 and the main character, September 'Sep' Hope and teens Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley have spent the summer together. In the forest they find an ancient stone box to which they each consign important sacrifices to cement their recent friendships. They promise to agree a number of things, including to never return and remove any contents. The disparate friends are no longer together in 1986 but reconnect when it becomes clear one of them has gone behind their backs and broken their pact. Despite their efforts to rectify their mistakes, events begin to slide desperately out of their control as horrific repercussions begin to play out. This is a tense and menacing story with many of the requisite horror tropes of crows, zombies, wicked dolls, and so much more. It touches on the issues of the nature of friendship amongst the young. A creepy and sinister read, ideal for those who enjoy horror. Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.
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  • A Bald Mage** Steve
    January 1, 1970
    via GIPHY ‘ Never come to the box alone’ ‘Never open it after dark’ ‘Never take back your sacrifice’Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK and Netgalley for giving me a free copy for an honest review: Unfortunately this review has been affected by the quality of the digital copy I received. Some of the chapters were unreadable due to the fact of there being no spaces in between words.)What do the following have in common; The Goonies , IT and Stranger Things? They all involve a group of young c via GIPHY ‘ Never come to the box alone’ ‘Never open it after dark’ ‘Never take back your sacrifice’Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK and Netgalley for giving me a free copy for an honest review: Unfortunately this review has been affected by the quality of the digital copy I received. Some of the chapters were unreadable due to the fact of there being no spaces in between words.)What do the following have in common; The Goonies , IT and Stranger Things? They all involve a group of young children who have to bond together in order to overcome their dangerous predicament.Full Review on my Blog: Happy Reading :)https://twobaldmages.wordpress.com/20...
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.One summer 70's evening, five boys discover a box in the woods. To cement their friendship, the friends decide to make sacrifices to the box by giving up something meaningful to place inside, with the threat that if one of them opens the box, terrible things will happen.1982, and the friends have drifted apart. Until terrible, wicked things start to happen. Someone has broken the pact and opened the box.On ready the blurb for this, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.One summer 70's evening, five boys discover a box in the woods. To cement their friendship, the friends decide to make sacrifices to the box by giving up something meaningful to place inside, with the threat that if one of them opens the box, terrible things will happen.1982, and the friends have drifted apart. Until terrible, wicked things start to happen. Someone has broken the pact and opened the box.On ready the blurb for this, I immediately drew comparisons with IT, The Goonies and Stand By Me which unfortunately does not help the novel. There's nothing new here, except a large portion of animal cruelty. I believe the novel is aimed at young adults and children - yet I found some of these violent scenes quite graphic in nature, and uncomfortable to read about. They didn't seem to fit with the target audience at all.The characters, when comparing to these classic 80's films and novels, are also rather underdeveloped. We never spent enough time with one character (with the possible exception of Sep) to really understand their nature and get to know them. It's also hard to understand how any of these boys were even friends. There's no emotional connection between them at all except for their link to the box. This is proven by the fact that they've drifted apart by the time 1982 comes around.The plot also suffers, as the author tries to pull the reader in several directions at once, not allowing you to concentrate on one plot development at a time. This makes the story convoluted and confusing at times as I was constantly trying to remember what everyone was doing at any given time. There was too much going on at once.Disappointing.
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  • Kirsty 📚📖❤️
    January 1, 1970
    One of the great things I loved about this book was the setting. It’s set in 1986 and the lead characters are just 1 year older than me at the time. It brings about such great memories of bad hair, outlandish dress sense and some fabulous music. I’d give it all the stars just for setting alone.Four years previously the gang, after a wonderful summer each made a sacrifice to a stone box they find in the woods (do these things ever end well??). As you can imagine this comes back to haunt them as, One of the great things I loved about this book was the setting. It’s set in 1986 and the lead characters are just 1 year older than me at the time. It brings about such great memories of bad hair, outlandish dress sense and some fabulous music. I’d give it all the stars just for setting alone.Four years previously the gang, after a wonderful summer each made a sacrifice to a stone box they find in the woods (do these things ever end well??). As you can imagine this comes back to haunt them as, now estranged as friends, one of them opens the box in a fit of loneliness wanting to get the gang back together. It has disastrous consequences.Turns out back during WW2 another set of youths did the same thing. Opening up the box in 1986 sets the monstrous sacrifices free to murder.As mentioned, I loved the setting of 1986. I also liked it being set on a small island (Arran possibly based on the blurb at the back). So often thrillers are based in big cities but I felt the smaller setting worked to increase the sense of fear and horror and make the book even more tense.The bulk of the book is set over just a few days so the pace is fast, it’s a real page turner.I loved all the little headings, I loved the characters. The main 5 all reminded me of 80’s films – your Stand By Me’s and your Goonie’s and again it harks back to my own school days. I could probably give each of the characters names from my own childhood. So for me very relatable.It’s dark, it’s edgy, there’s horror and humour. Basically it has everything. Did I mention I loved it??Free arc from netgalley
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    The synopsis for this one sounded so dark and brilliant (even as YA) that I was really looking forward to it - I read it fast, it is an easy read in that sense, but honestly it missed the mark for me on quite a few levels.That is not to say that it is not entertaining. It is in many ways but for me more as a bang through kind of thing rather than feeling any depth or substance. Having said that descriptively speaking this author has a certain something that has made me want to read his next book The synopsis for this one sounded so dark and brilliant (even as YA) that I was really looking forward to it - I read it fast, it is an easy read in that sense, but honestly it missed the mark for me on quite a few levels.That is not to say that it is not entertaining. It is in many ways but for me more as a bang through kind of thing rather than feeling any depth or substance. Having said that descriptively speaking this author has a certain something that has made me want to read his next book - I think the problem here was lack of character levels.With the exception of Sep I didn't really feel I got to know the gang with enough engagement to make me care what was happening. His need to leave the island and the 80's setting were probably the strongest parts of The Sacrifice Box for me - the wider horror story just feeding into his personality enough to keep me reading.The premise is sound but the execution is a little wishy washy. While I think the target market will probably love it, this was not one of those young adult novels that spoke to me on a higher level. Fast, with a certain fun element but nothing stand out.
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  • Lia
    January 1, 1970
    Please tell me I’m not the only one who didn’t expect a horror novel after reading that synopsis? I normally don’t read horror books, it’s not at all my genre, but I did enjoy reading this one (surprisingly)! The story is about Sep (whose name is actually September), he’s lonely, has no friends and wants to move from the island he lives to the mainland to go to school there and become an engineer. The story is set in the 1980’s but there are flashbacks to what happened before the main storyline. Please tell me I’m not the only one who didn’t expect a horror novel after reading that synopsis? I normally don’t read horror books, it’s not at all my genre, but I did enjoy reading this one (surprisingly)! The story is about Sep (whose name is actually September), he’s lonely, has no friends and wants to move from the island he lives to the mainland to go to school there and become an engineer. The story is set in the 1980’s but there are flashbacks to what happened before the main storyline.“They spoke the words–the rules of the sacrifice.‘Never come to the box alone,’ they said, hands unmoving.‘Never open it after dark,’ they said, fingers joined together.‘Never take back your sacrifice,’ they finished–then let go.”What I really liked about this book was the dark, gruesome and very atmospheric writing. It was so well-written and vivid! I loved that it gave the story more atmosphere. It wasn’t really scary, but I’m not sure it is supposed to be (like I said, I don’t normally read horror), but it was engrossing and made me keep reading! I was really invested in how it was going to end and whether it all was going get a happy ending or not!A thing that annoyed me, which was not really anything that was wrong, was how there were so many nicknames used in the story! All the teens in the group of main characters use both their real name, last name and nicknames and it was so confusing! I couldn’t tell them apart and that really annoyed me because that way all the character depth and development was lost to me. At one point there was someone named Daniels and for the sake of me, I do not know who the hell this character was.Yesterday he’d woken up with his world in order: his mum was well, his exams were over, his boarding school application was nearly complete. No obstacles. Everything he’d work for.And now what?His mum was getting sick again.He was bunking off school with the others.And his teddy bear was trying to kill him.As a sidenote, I was scrolling through some reviews on goodreads and some mentioned that the book was too gruesome for the YA age range and all of those reviews were written by adults (judging by profile pictures)… I am no teen myself, but as a 21-year old, I think it’s fair to say I think teens and young adults are used to more gore than they (these adults) think. Anyway, if you cannot stand reading about blood, killing of animals or gore, this might not be for you.“‘We’re all little miracles,’ she said, ‘everything about us: all our stupid habits and our jokes and our weird faces, on a spinning ball that’s a perfect distance from the sun. And now here we are, you and me, sitting on top of a million years of history.'”I am giving this book 3.5-4 stars because despite that it was completely not as I expected it to be, I really enjoyed the book! The characters were a bit lost to me, but that might just be my quirk. I think you would really like this if you love Stranger Things and horror movies or books!
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley are five friends who are thrown together one hot, sultry summer. They discover a stone box hidden in the forest and they decide to make a sacrifice: something special to them. They make a pact, they will never return to the box at night, they will never visit alone and they will never take back their offerings. Four years later the gang has drifted apart. Then strange events take place. One of them has broken the pact.I did not like that lots of animals die in t Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley are five friends who are thrown together one hot, sultry summer. They discover a stone box hidden in the forest and they decide to make a sacrifice: something special to them. They make a pact, they will never return to the box at night, they will never visit alone and they will never take back their offerings. Four years later the gang has drifted apart. Then strange events take place. One of them has broken the pact.I did not like that lots of animals die in this book (some readers will find this quite upsetting). This is quite a scary read considering it is written for teens and young adult readers. Some of the descriptions are quite gory and there is quite explicit descriptions of death. It is well written with a decent pace.I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Random House UK, Children's and the author Martin Stewart for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Cassidy (Reminders of the Changing Time)
    January 1, 1970
    To see all of my book-related content, check out my blog @ http://bit.ly/2zzVt0RIs it too early to add this as a contender for one of my most disappointing reads of 2018? Because, its barely a month into the year but I don’t think any other book is going to be able to top this. I do not think my expectations have ever been higher for a book - I watched a Youtube video from Heart Full of Books (who I believe got a proof from YALC) and then I read all of the PR that compared it to Stranger Things To see all of my book-related content, check out my blog @ http://bit.ly/2zzVt0RIs it too early to add this as a contender for one of my most disappointing reads of 2018? Because, its barely a month into the year but I don’t think any other book is going to be able to top this. I do not think my expectations have ever been higher for a book - I watched a Youtube video from Heart Full of Books (who I believe got a proof from YALC) and then I read all of the PR that compared it to Stranger Things and Stand By Me, which are two of my favourite television series and movies of all time, and I was like, “OMG I CANT WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON THIS”.Unfortunately, the main thing I got out of reading The Sacrifice Box was a renewed appreciation for just how good things like Stranger Things and Stand By Me are, to have achieved that iconic cult status that labels them as genre-staples. These two, alongside others like IT and The Goonies, are certainly not things that come around very often, and The Sacrifice Box felt like a mere shadow in comparison to them. The character nuances, the world-building (I’m becoming more and more certain the only reason it is set in the 1980’s is so that the author could put in an excessive amount of references to September’s walkman), the unadulterated emotion; these are all things in which these excelled and The Sacrifice Box fell painfully short.Honestly, the only thing I can think of right now is the fact that the media used to refer to actress Jayne Mansfield as the “poor man’s Marilyn Monroe” and I think that a similar sentiment really rings true here. I know, I know, that sounds harsh but let’s face it, September and the gang are never going to reach the iconic status of the Losers’ Club, or Eleven, or Chris Chambers, or Sloth from the Goonies - they’re just not memorable or relatable enough for the audience to feel any degree of empathy towards. Speaking of the Losers’ Club, I find it incredibly odd that all of the advertising focussed heavily on the supposed similarities between The Sacrifice Box, and Strangers Things and Stand By Me when clearly, it is tried far more to resemble the kids from IT. Honestly, it brings absolutely nothing new and I supposed it could've been salvaged if it had brought a more terrifying analysis of childhood fears and a better conclusion to the forefront, but it didn’t even manage that. Whereas the things that The Losers’ Club were scared of were actually pretty terrifying (remember Eddie's fear of disease?), in The Sacrifice Box, these sixteen(?)-year-olds are chased down by a murderous teddy bear…. I mean, I know at the age of twenty-two I am a little outside of the YA target age range, but I can’t imagine anyone over the age of nine being scared of a killer toy. So, yeah…. Sorry The Sacrifice Box but I do not think I am going to be replacing my love for your predecessors any time soon.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Head on over to http://bit.ly/2y7JSWV for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.
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  • Rachael (foreverxbookish)
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know where to even begin. How am I meant to explain the multitude of emotions that coursed lme every night when I picked this book up?The Sacrifice Box is both touching and terrifying and I don't quite know how that works so well. I finished this book at 2:30am and even now I'm still not sure how to feel.MY MAIN ADVICE: Don't look into the plot before reading.It's so much more fun to work it out based on a vague synopsis.There is a box. A group of friends discover it and each place items I don't know where to even begin. How am I meant to explain the multitude of emotions that coursed lme every night when I picked this book up?The Sacrifice Box is both touching and terrifying and I don't quite know how that works so well. I finished this book at 2:30am and even now I'm still not sure how to feel.MY MAIN ADVICE: Don't look into the plot before reading.It's so much more fun to work it out based on a vague synopsis.There is a box. A group of friends discover it and each place items into the box as a sacrifice. They swear to follow three rules: Never come to the box alone; Never open it after dark; Never take back your sacrifice. This is what happens when the rules are broken.That's all I knew when going into the book and I admit to being pretty confused in the beginning when everything was very vague and people were asking questions and getting non-answers in return. But it's one of those books. It kind of gave me We Were Liars vibes for a while, but I actually understood this book a little more. You go from knowing absolutely nothing to knowing it all, and it's a bit of a jigsaw.It was a very creepy jigsaw as well. I don't want to give anything away, but no wonder why everyone uses dolls and crows when it comes to horror. It's bloody terrifying. It had a great dark, atmospheric feel to it, causing me to jump at the slightest noise in my house.It was also very graphic. Now I may be a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror, so even the littlest of things can creep me out, but I am usually okay when it comes to gory scenes. I was not okay reading this. I will warn any of you animal lovers that it does include a lot of graphic and gruesome animal deaths, and a little more. I was very disturbed by these parts of the book and it made me so sad to see them like this.But on a less creepy note, I was surprised to find out just how touching this story was. From what I've just said, you're probably wondering how that is possible? The answer is: I don't know. I still can't understand it at all.I loved that there was a strong focus on friendship, and what real friendship is meant to be. I actually found myself being really touched by the characters.I did find it difficult to feel for all the characters. I just feel like some we really didn't get to know as well. I understand Arkle so well but I still don't really know Lamb all that well. There were a lot of characters to keep track of during the book so at times it was a little confusing. I just couldn't figure out what motives were behind some of their actions at certain points.But I will say I never predicted what was going to happen. I was constantly on edge throughout this story but every time I thought it was headed in one direction it would twist and leave me confused all over again. While frustrating, I appreciate that it wasn't blatantly obvious.Despite the nightmares I will probably have from this book, I really enjoyed it. I gave it 4/5 stars and I can't wait for its release!
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I first heard of this book when watching YALC vlogs last year and was immediately excited for it- anything reminiscent of Stranger Things has me immediately interested! For about the first 25% I didn't understand the Stranger Things link at all but it becomes clear the further into the book you get. The intense friendship that is formed between the main characters both in the summer they make their sacrifices and trying to dea I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I first heard of this book when watching YALC vlogs last year and was immediately excited for it- anything reminiscent of Stranger Things has me immediately interested! For about the first 25% I didn't understand the Stranger Things link at all but it becomes clear the further into the book you get. The intense friendship that is formed between the main characters both in the summer they make their sacrifices and trying to deal with the box's consequences was fairly well explored although there was no real explanation of why their initial friendship broke down so quickly. Mario is an angel (view spoiler)[ and I was absolutely devastated when he died (hide spoiler)] and his relationship with Sep was so pure and gorgeous it hurt my little heart (in a good way of course).The writing was spooky and atmospheric and freaked me out more than once! I think it's really well done for a YA thriller/horror and I definitely felt like I was a part of the story. I also really liked the inclusion of the original users of the box- this was a really interesting subplot and again done very well by the author. Although a lot happens in this book and it's pretty fast paced, the most important aspect for me was the relationships. Parent/child, teacher/student, employer/employee, budding romantic relationships and friendships were all beautifully handled. The ending also offered closure for every character and felt totally natural. I'll definitely be looking out for more from this author and recommending this book to people all the time. Side note: there are a good few reviews on here that have confused me. There a couple stating that the friendship group is all boys when it's actually 3 boys 2 girls. Another couple say it's set on an island off New York but that isn't the case, it's a UKYA book set on an island which I believe is off the coast of Scotland but this could be wrong. It's definitely somewhere in the UK though.
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  • Leonie Byrne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and Martin Stewart for my ARC of The Sacrifice Box. First off let me give a trigger warning to potential readers that lots of animals die in this book which was quite upsetting (for me) and might be for you. It’s the late 70s and a group of friends on an island near New York City, are spending the summer together. Thrown together by chance, a broken arm, friends at camp etc. Sep, Arkle, Lamb, Hadley and Mack uncover a mysterious box in the woods. Driven by a Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and Martin Stewart for my ARC of The Sacrifice Box. First off let me give a trigger warning to potential readers that lots of animals die in this book which was quite upsetting (for me) and might be for you. It’s the late 70s and a group of friends on an island near New York City, are spending the summer together. Thrown together by chance, a broken arm, friends at camp etc. Sep, Arkle, Lamb, Hadley and Mack uncover a mysterious box in the woods. Driven by a waking dream experienced by Sep, they decide to make sacrifices to the box to seal their friendship. Fast forward to 1982 and the five friends are no longer friends. When school started again, Sep earned himself the nickname ‘septic’ getting bullied by those he once made a pact of friendship with. He’s also thinking of going to boarding school on the mainland. The others have their own lives and own worries. That is until the box is disturbed and terrible things begin to happen and the friends are thrown back together again. This book was first and foremost very weird. It jumped around quite a lot and I can’t say I’ve come away from it knowing what happened or making any sense of it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I just didn’t get it. There seemed to be good storylines that pinged along and never came to anything and to be honest most of it was just really, really sad. I may have felt this way because I really don’t like reading about animals dying, especially if said animals, die because they’re trying to protect humans. So maybe that ruined it for me. But I don’t know, maybe I don’t get horror either as I’m not really a horror fan! This book also smacked of Stephen King’s Stand By Me a bit too much for my liking which made it feel a bit replicated. However, despite all that, I did read until the end so there must have been something keeping me going with it!
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  • Clare
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted at Dual Reads Advance Reader Copy received for an honest review. This was so, so intense. There were moments of humour and lightness but there were also moments that made me tense up - and some that were outright scary. This has been compared to Stranger Things and Stephen King - which is a big comparison. I haven't seen Stranger Things and I've read nothing by King, but I get why the comparison was made. There's a sort of quirky horror in this book that feels u This review was originally posted at Dual Reads Advance Reader Copy received for an honest review. This was so, so intense. There were moments of humour and lightness but there were also moments that made me tense up - and some that were outright scary. This has been compared to Stranger Things and Stephen King - which is a big comparison. I haven't seen Stranger Things and I've read nothing by King, but I get why the comparison was made. There's a sort of quirky horror in this book that feels utterly unique and hugely memorable.The pop culture references made me so happy - it's set in the 80s and the nostalgia kick for anyone who was a teen then is going to be huge. For me it was just before I was born (I missed out on a lot apparently) but references to Zelda and Hall & Oates still excited me! Each character was very realistic and relatable in various ways. I think my favourite would have to be Arkle but I did love all of them. Even if it took me a little longer to warm up to Mack. Sep is the protagonist and is a great one, he is intelligent and loyal and so seeing the story through his eyes added a lot of emotional kick.I wouldn't expect teddy bears or dolls to be as outright terrifying as they are in this book. And I'll admit when "Barnaby" first appeared I laughed. The idea of an animated toy feels way too Toy Story for me. But after he has gone on a violent rampage he becomes considerably less cute and funny and just a little bit more scary. There's one scene towards the end that has made me very wary of my childhood toys. The one thing I didn't love was the ending. For a book that so perfectly ratcheted up the tension and the action all the way through, the ending felt... anti-climactic. I just wish there had been more there, or maybe I just wanted more character deaths (am I a bad person??). Other than that though, this book was hugely satisfying and exciting. I would love to see it as a movie and I am very much looking forward to seeing what Stewart writes next!!
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  • gem
    January 1, 1970
    A deliciously dark, creepy and awesomely weird ya horror novel that’s perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Micheal Grant and Andrew Smith. On the blurb The Sacrifice Box was recommended for fans of Stranger Things and Stephen King and I’d wholeheartedly agree with this! I was 12 when I started reading Stephen King novels, and this has echoes of my favourites; IT, Salem’s Lot & The Tommy Knockers, in the way a group of friends must do battle against a foe that’s not easily explained. 4 years a A deliciously dark, creepy and awesomely weird ya horror novel that’s perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Micheal Grant and Andrew Smith. On the blurb The Sacrifice Box was recommended for fans of Stranger Things and Stephen King and I’d wholeheartedly agree with this! I was 12 when I started reading Stephen King novels, and this has echoes of my favourites; IT, Salem’s Lot & The Tommy Knockers, in the way a group of friends must do battle against a foe that’s not easily explained. 4 years after a perfect summer, circumstances draw them back together. it’s not just a bully, it’s a dark force that will require something deeper to defeat it. The rules were simple (this reminded me strongly of the rules in Gremlins!) and get they were not followed and now they must pay the price... as the strange things start getting decidedly more creepy, weird and dangerous the tension really heightens and I was definitely freaked out! Argh, the crows! Jeeze, I hate those things. The bloody point beaks those dark eyes. *shudders* and that’s just mentioning one of the many spooktacular things that caused me to stay up until 3am to finish this! It’s such a great book!It’s a wonderful mix of all the things I love; a group of well defined and interesting characters, a crazy brilliant plot full of frights and enough comedic moments to stop me hyperventilating! I loved all the references to key 80s movies, songs, books and all things horror.I can’t wait to read whatever MS writes next!
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book! The 80's references were great and really appealed to me as they brought back some great memories. Definitely on trend at the moment as the 80's seem to be influencing a lot of books and TV series recently. I felt the friendship can conquer all angle worked really well and again was reminiscent of such classics as The Goonies/Stranger Things/Stand by Me.All the characters were well rounded, September and Hadley were my favourites but as a whole the group worked well t I really enjoyed this book! The 80's references were great and really appealed to me as they brought back some great memories. Definitely on trend at the moment as the 80's seem to be influencing a lot of books and TV series recently. I felt the friendship can conquer all angle worked really well and again was reminiscent of such classics as The Goonies/Stranger Things/Stand by Me.All the characters were well rounded, September and Hadley were my favourites but as a whole the group worked well together.A thoroughly enjoyable read that I raced through; featuring a demonic teddy bear, various zombie creatures and killer crabs - what more could you want from a YA horror!? I will definitely be buying a copy for my teenage daughter.
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  • Rhoda
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Penguin for the copy of this book. Sadly, this book just wasn’t for me. That said, I enjoyed the dynamic with the group of friends and Arkle did make me laugh. I enjoyed the writing too but I just couldn’t really get into the story. I also didn’t appreciate the number and scale of animal deaths. I mean, I understood their role in the story, but this is just my personal opinion and I’m probably particularly sensitive to such things. I just thought I’d mention but in case you are too.
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  • Mrs Karen Reid
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a perfect mix of Stranger Things meets Stephen King. It was not relaxing read, I found nd myself really tense, rushing on to find out how things would end for the 5 friends. The horrors they had to endure, I felt like I was a sixth member just along for the ride. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who does not mind a little gore and guts.
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  • Sarah Davies
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a really nice surprise and so on the current trend of eighties revival stories.If you like Stranger Things, Goonies, E.T or Stand By Me this book is really for you, starting in the beginning of the 80's around 1982 five kids spend their summer together at the end of the summer they find a box, which they sacrifice an item each to celebrate there friendship and how important it is to them!!There are rules with a sacrifice box, do not go back to it at night, do not go by yourselves a This book was a really nice surprise and so on the current trend of eighties revival stories.If you like Stranger Things, Goonies, E.T or Stand By Me this book is really for you, starting in the beginning of the 80's around 1982 five kids spend their summer together at the end of the summer they find a box, which they sacrifice an item each to celebrate there friendship and how important it is to them!!There are rules with a sacrifice box, do not go back to it at night, do not go by yourselves and Do Not remove your sacrifices!!!Now in 1986, the five friends no longer speak to each other they don't even acknowledge each other, but things start to happen which means the kids need to speak to each other!!There is also things going with a group of adults, did they use the sacrifice box as well???This is a great story with a really interesting plot, well written, with a coming of age story and how life moves on. Well paced with a great mix of characters that will suit young and old readers.
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  • Claire Reeder
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not one to give up on a book but this one was a struggle. Billed as for fans of the Goonies and Stranger Things I was really looking forward to reading this but was disappointed. Firstly I couldn’t even work out where this book was supposed to be set. They’re on an island and can see the mainland but where. It mentions Blue Peter so I assumed it was set in the UK but then it mentions Guidance Counsellors so is it USA?Secondly there are too many characters and not enough time spent exploring I’m not one to give up on a book but this one was a struggle. Billed as for fans of the Goonies and Stranger Things I was really looking forward to reading this but was disappointed. Firstly I couldn’t even work out where this book was supposed to be set. They’re on an island and can see the mainland but where. It mentions Blue Peter so I assumed it was set in the UK but then it mentions Guidance Counsellors so is it USA?Secondly there are too many characters and not enough time spent exploring the back story of the main characters with the exception of Sep.I found the plot line confusing as I felt you were pulled in too many directions and with all the characters it felt quite disjointed. Sorry but this book was not for me.Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and the author for the chance to review.
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  • Julie Lacey
    January 1, 1970
    I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but I really enjoyed it. I felt a real connection to all the characters, especially Sep and Hadley. The story goes back to 1986 when the group of friends each place something into the sacrifice box but then a while later one of them breaks the rules and chaos erupts through the small town. This book has a horror element to it and at times turns your stomach as it’s quite gory but it’s a good mystery thriller. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Rand I didn’t really know what to expect from this book but I really enjoyed it. I felt a real connection to all the characters, especially Sep and Hadley. The story goes back to 1986 when the group of friends each place something into the sacrifice box but then a while later one of them breaks the rules and chaos erupts through the small town. This book has a horror element to it and at times turns your stomach as it’s quite gory but it’s a good mystery thriller. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy to read or review.
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  • Alyce Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    There are a few words I could use to summarise The Sacrifice Box. Gratuitous. Excessive. Unnecessary.I'm struggling to comprehend how a book like this managed to get published, let alone published as a young adult novel.Honestly, it's my own fault. I should have known what to expect from The Sacrifice Box because I hated Martin Stewart's first novel, Riverkeep. In fact, I only gave The Sacrifice Box two stars because it's not as terrible as Riverkeep, but it doesn't have any redeeming features o There are a few words I could use to summarise The Sacrifice Box. Gratuitous. Excessive. Unnecessary.I'm struggling to comprehend how a book like this managed to get published, let alone published as a young adult novel.Honestly, it's my own fault. I should have known what to expect from The Sacrifice Box because I hated Martin Stewart's first novel, Riverkeep. In fact, I only gave The Sacrifice Box two stars because it's not as terrible as Riverkeep, but it doesn't have any redeeming features of its own.There are so many things that make me angry about The Sacrifice Box that I've decided to write a list. Here are the five things I absolutely hated about this novel:1) When the events happenThe Sacrifice Box begins in the year 1982, but is primarily set in 1986 (and occasionally jumps back to 1941). There's no real reason for it. Sep and Hadley listening to cassettes on their Walkmans is the only thing that makes The Sacrifice Box feel as though it's set in the past. The language doesn't feel authentic, particularly with characters using, "Shit happens", a phrase which has a decidedly modern feel to it.There are links to Chernobyl and Halley's comet, but these could be replaced with modern concerns such as global warming, nuclear weapon testing, etc.Honestly? I think it's an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Stranger Things.2) The protagonist's nameWho the heck calls a child September? The other weird names - Lamb, Arkle and Mack - make sense, because they're nicknames. But September? Seriously?!3) The constant jumping from location to locationOne moment we're following Sep at school, the next minute we're watching a woman getting pulled to her death by a subway train in New York. By the end of the novel, most of the loose threads are wrapped up, but as the events are unfolding it's disorienting and makes it hard to keep track of what's happening when and where.4) Gratuitously gory goings-onIf you don't like really in-depth descriptions of dead animals, this is not the book for you. I'm not opposed to a bit of gore, if it's vital and fits with the rest of the novel. Neither of those were the case with The Sacrifice Box. There are scenes with animals in horrendous pain, a really weird section when one of Sep's friends keeps cuddling a squirrel which has been turned inside out, and more violence towards wildlife than I've ever encountered before. Yes, the creatures are reanimated zombies, but it still made me uncomfortable, and it takes a lot to unsettle me.This is why I'm surprised that this book has been published as YA. Yes, the characters are teenagers, but the characters in IT are children and that's an adult horror novel for a reason. If I'd gone into this expecting a horror novel, I wouldn't have been as disturbed.5) That endingI'm not going to spoil what happens, but I'm just going to warn you that there's an epilogue at the end of the book which is completely unnecessary and doesn't actually resolve anything. You're left with a lot of unanswered questions, and my most pressing one was: How were these events explained to the general public?There were a couple of inclusions that I appreciated. Sep is deaf in one ear, but he still loves listening to music. Meanwhile, Hadley's mother is Korean. Although the latter is a throwaway reference and we never meet her mother, it's nice to see diversity being included, especially when it's done so casually.I also thought it was great that Sep and his friends weren't afraid to ask adults for help. It made The Sacrifice Box far more realistic than the books where the teenagers save the day without any guidance whatsoever.If I'd noticed Stewart's name on the cover, I would never have requested The Sacrifice Box. Unfortunately, the beautiful cover and the compelling blurb grabbed my attention before I spotted the connection to Riverkeep. It's annoying, because the concept is unique and intriguing and this should have been a book that I absolutely loved! At least now I know that I'm never going to get on with Martin Stewart's writing.This review was originally posted on The Bumbling Blogger.
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  • Alyssa Grace
    January 1, 1970
    "They spoke the words--the rules of the sacrifice. 'Never come to the box alone,' they said, hands unmoving. 'Never open it after dark,' they said, fingers joined together. 'Never take back your sacrifice,' they finished--then let go."Five friends reuniting after four years, having broken the three vows they made to each other. Two timelines of children called by the sacrifice box, and one curse that threatens to destroy them all. This is a chilling, creepy and atmospheric thriller. It takes a w "They spoke the words--the rules of the sacrifice. 'Never come to the box alone,' they said, hands unmoving. 'Never open it after dark,' they said, fingers joined together. 'Never take back your sacrifice,' they finished--then let go."Five friends reuniting after four years, having broken the three vows they made to each other. Two timelines of children called by the sacrifice box, and one curse that threatens to destroy them all. This is a chilling, creepy and atmospheric thriller. It takes a while to build up, but once it does, it's hard to put down. The Sacrifice Box may be a supernatural horror novel, but what it sets apart from B-movie territory is Martin Stewart's commitment to writing a story that is really about the power of friendship.At the heart of the story is the strongest squad goals I've read in a couple months. Seriously, the band of misfits forced together by circumstance has rarely had such dynamic chemistry as they do in The Sacrifice Box. I get a few Breakfast Club vibes from the group; in fact, you could easily pitch the whole book as One of Us Is Lying meets Stranger Things. Not only do they have catchy and fitting nicknames, Sep, Hadley, Mack, Arkle and Lamb are bloody awesome when they stop the bickering long enough to work together. (Looks like having to fight for your lives against crazy reanimated dolls can break the barriers of high school hierarchy after all.)I'll start with Sep. September "Sep" Hope is my spirit animal--your standard nerdy outcast who's also deaf in one ear, until he's not. Sep is the good kid with bright academic prospects who's going to head off his small town island to engineering college, but he's also just sweet in general. I couldn't dislike him if I tried, especially not with everything that he goes through in the book. Lamb is a badass field hockey player and the practical tactician of the group, the closest thing you'll get to an action hero(ine). Arkle's obliviousness doesn't stop him from being endearing. Mack, I swear, will never stop teasing Sep about Hadley's geek-on for him. And Hadley is just lowkey awesome as the quiet smart girl with a backbone of steel. Can you tell that I adore them all? Because I really do. They're 15-year-olds thrown into a nightmare situation, and every one of them learns something from going through the ordeal. Their personalities are so lucidly filled out, it feels like the squad could be real people. I'm not saying that all the deadly curse stuff was good, but my favourite horror novels are those where the protagonist(s) walk through the fire figuratively and emerge as better people. The Sacrifice Box, well, ticks that box. There's a sweet romance in both senses of the word; it's a lovely coming-of-age relationship that doesn't extend past one perfectly timed kiss. Nonetheless, it manages to be more interesting and have more chemistry than a good deal of considerably more graphic YA novels, which again reflects the strength of the characters. Honestly, the violence in this book is more mature. I freely admit that I would probably pass out a few times, and hence get killed, if I were subjected to the near-death experiences that Sep and his friends are. They clearly have higher pain thresholds than I do.Stewart handles the POV switches fairly well--most of the novel is narrated from Sep's perspective, but this being a horror book with the usual trappings of the genre, there are a fair few cut aways to peripheral characters, almost always ending in some sort of jump scare and/or fade to black. There are quite a few such ambiguous scenes that leave the fate of certain characters up in the air until they next appear or their body is found (yes, there are deaths in this book). The large size of the cast occasionally creates confusion--you'll need a good memory to keep track of who's who at all times--but for the most part it sorts itself out a couple paragraphs later.A last awesome thing is the 80s vibe. It's strong, and it's good stuff. We've got Chernobyl, the Cold War, Halley's Comet and Bowie mixtapes, the whole deal. The 80s is a setting that works for The Sacrifice Box, much better than I suspect the present day would. Stewart capitalises fully on the cultural atmosphere to strike a great balance between uncertainty and hope.*Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children's and NetGalley for providing a review copy of this book! All opinions represented remain my own.*My Blog
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    The Sacrifice Box.I have been looking forward to reading this story for a while. I was not disappointed. Fabulous stuff and almost perfectly formed for me as the reader.This is really a book for my generation. Finally British children of the eighties like me, get an anglicised version of a rip roaring story similar to IT and Dreamcatcher by Stephen King. I immediately recognised myself and my own motley crew in this story of a group of very disparate children bonding over a shared summer holiday The Sacrifice Box.I have been looking forward to reading this story for a while. I was not disappointed. Fabulous stuff and almost perfectly formed for me as the reader.This is really a book for my generation. Finally British children of the eighties like me, get an anglicised version of a rip roaring story similar to IT and Dreamcatcher by Stephen King. I immediately recognised myself and my own motley crew in this story of a group of very disparate children bonding over a shared summer holiday.Parallels with the works of SK were inevitable as thematically and structurally there are similarities. A group of youngsters experience a trauma that arises from a supernatural evil taking advantage of the innocence of youth. The loneliest and most isolated have gravitated towards each other one fateful summer and in a bid to cement that the most tenuous of bonds, they commit their most personal items to a musty box that appears in the woods. These totems are planned to act as unbreakable links when the summer is done.There were rules of course and someone has broken them all, disturbed the sanctity of this rather macabre time capsule.It seems History starts to repeat itself, a theme of cyclical horrors repeated seemingly in perpetuity features. Perhaps because teens are renowned for balking against rules , even those set by peers, this callow bid for independence by someone from the group in both instances invariably leads to fear, violence and really weird goings on!The 80s kids are well drawn each with their own personality, voices and look that immediately creates memorable characters. September is a worthy central hero, and I found myself seriously rooting for Arkle the joker in the pack.The fates of the previous group drawn to that same spot decades before, provides a ominous foretelling that ratchets up the tension, so even as our heroes start experiencing terrifying encounters linked to the very particular gifts given to the gaping maw of that titular Box. The personal traumas of the kids inform their choices and the punishment meted out by the entity that is contained in the box.Nature is used by great effect by the smells , sights and sounds of the woods themselves, the very foliage holds an ominous threat. Crows are slick, beady eyed ides Of Terror and the most innocuous of creature becomes terrifying.Balanced against the more mundane but equally damaging fear felt by every non-conformist child of being made an example of and humiliated is just as frightening tool to isolate the kids within their own fear bubbles.I was drawn in by this macabre tale that does not pull the punches, but deep at it’s Heart is a simple premise that is so effectively presented, that Friendship and love might just be their most effective weapon in anyone’s arsenal. King has sprawling epics to accomplish this, Martin Stewart has managed to distil it down into a much more manageable pieceThe best horror novels are those which make you feel deeply connected to the characters.Stewart has crafted a marvellous tale and the insertion of some rather lovely elements that truly bed the plot in the 80s of my childhood lifts the story head and shoulders above other YA fantasy horrors. my favourite; the wanton destruction of the packaged Chewbacca action figure must have had Star Wars fans groaning.Five Stars.I dedicate this review to Sarah,James,Joanne, Kelly, Michelle and Natasha, my little gang whose “wood “was the Banks Of Hen Brook, under the bridge and the tree houses on the periphery of “The Green”. I miss those days of bike rides with James with Kermit strapped to the front of his Gold Chopper with me following behind on my blue one.
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  • Kitty
    January 1, 1970
    3.5The ’80s ‘rites of passage’ trope has become a very popular angle to rework in recent years – the familiar themes of Stand by Me and the Goonies have been revisited in the likes of Stranger Things and IT, and The Sacrifice Box sits quite firmly in this bracket. 5 young friends, Sep, Lamb, Hadley, Mack and Arkle find themselves taking part in a sacrifice of sorts – each of them choosing something meaningful (to them) that should go into the strange box they’ve unearthed in the forest. The box 3.5The ’80s ‘rites of passage’ trope has become a very popular angle to rework in recent years – the familiar themes of Stand by Me and the Goonies have been revisited in the likes of Stranger Things and IT, and The Sacrifice Box sits quite firmly in this bracket. 5 young friends, Sep, Lamb, Hadley, Mack and Arkle find themselves taking part in a sacrifice of sorts – each of them choosing something meaningful (to them) that should go into the strange box they’ve unearthed in the forest. The box is sealed, the pact is made. The rules of the Sacrifice Box are clear: Don’t go back to it at night, don’t go back to it alone, and don’t ever remove your sacrifice.Fast forward a few years, and we learn from September (Sep) that the group have moved on and don’t have much contact with each other, except for seeing each other at school. Sep is lonely, and constantly worried about his Mum, a police officer who was battling cancer when he made his sacrifice to the box and has since recovered. Sep is even bullied by some of his former friends, who call him ‘Septic’. The group has all but forgotten about their pact, and the box, until one day, horrible things start to happen that can mean only one thing – someone has broken the pact and opened the box…There were a few odd things about this book – the focus seemed to move around a lot, and I felt at times I was trying to follow a couple of stories, all of which were quite depressing. The box had obviously been opened and filled before, in a different age, or ages. No longer had I worked out what was going on in one timeframe, I was in another. Geographically, I wasn’t sure where it was supposed to be set, it seemed initially like it was an Island area in the US…but from the descriptions it sounded more like one of the islands off the British Isles – perhaps it is meant to be somewhere that could be anywhere, but it doesn’t really achieve that. That’s not particularly important though, more an observation.I did like the relationship between the group, it rings true that those friends you have when you are really little are often not your friends throughout the rest of your life. Some you lose contact with and find again, sometimes more than once. Some, you just grow out of. There’s also a role for everyone in the group from the leader, down to the clown. I felt there was a lot of realism in the teenage feelings and frustrations – Sep never able to let go of the worry that his Mum is going to fall ill again and leave him alone. Every time she misses a meal or sleeps in late, the anxiety eats at him again. The relationship between Sep and his friend/employer Mario was really sweet & it was nice to know that Sep had someone looking out for him, even though I’m not sure he quite realised it at the time.Aimed at teen and young adult readers, this is actually a quite scary novel – I found some of the gory descriptions quite nasty. There is a lot of death, and fairly explicit descriptions of those deaths – particularly that of animals, which could be upsetting to some, especially more sensitive kids but I can also imagine younger fans of horror and the paranormal lapping it up.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Never come to the box aloneNever open it after darkNever take back your sacrificeThese are the rules. They must never, ever be broken.This book was advertised for fans of IT, Stranger Things and Stand by Me. With the main characters being kids/teens in the 80s, a very creepy plot and themes of the strength of friendship, it's not hard to see why!The novel takes place on an unnamed Scottish Island (based on the Isle of Arran as confirmed by the author in the Acknowledgements section of the book). Never come to the box aloneNever open it after darkNever take back your sacrificeThese are the rules. They must never, ever be broken.This book was advertised for fans of IT, Stranger Things and Stand by Me. With the main characters being kids/teens in the 80s, a very creepy plot and themes of the strength of friendship, it's not hard to see why!The novel takes place on an unnamed Scottish Island (based on the Isle of Arran as confirmed by the author in the Acknowledgements section of the book). This gives the setting a somewhat "small town" vibe cut off from the rest of the world. The 5 main characters meet and bond one Summer when their usual friends are away. They discover a mysterious box in the woods and decide to each make a sacrifice by putting something important to them into the box. The Summer comes to an end and the friends drift apart going back into their previous friendship groups...4 years later bad things begin to happen to the kids...a rule has been broken...The only way to fix it is by coming back together and rebuilding their bond to face the evils of the box together!Although this book is very much written in a "Young Adult" style. It is not a childish book! It is extremely dark and I would definitely put it into the genre of "Horror". There is a lot of gore and descriptive deaths of both people and animals which might not be some people's cup of tea. Honestly though, you can't expect a book to be marketed for fans of Stephen King without it being pretty dark! The plot itself is pretty King-esque generally, not only with the kids meeting and bonding in the woods over a summer (IT, The Body) but also dead zombie animals (Pet Sematary), Evil kids toys (The Monkey) etc. Although the plot had a lot of similarities to King, the writing style was completely different so I don't feel like there was too much "copying" involved. Throughout the darkness of the plot in all its visceral grimness there is also humour and light and the power of friendship which balances the plot nicely. I found the writing itself to be thoroughly smooth and enjoyable with some really beautiful prose at some points.The characters are enjoyable and likeable in their own way, although it would have been nice to learn more about the characters other than Sep to really get to understand and love them.The ending leaves quite a few unanswered questions which is a shame and a bit of a downpoint to an otherwise very enjoyable book.Overall, I zoomed through this book and it left me wanting more. The writing was excellent and with a little more development of the characters and plot this book has some really great potential.Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review
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  • Anya
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThe blurb of this book caught my eye and reeled me in. It sounded utterly compelling, and with promises of it being for fans of Stranger Things and the like, I was pretty excited heading into this book.There was definitely a sinister feeling throughout this book, that sense of being constantly stalked by something and making you scared of the dark corners, as well as that ‘80s vibe that is making a resurgence. Of course there’s a slight Stephen King-esque feel to this book. It’s a creep 3.5 starsThe blurb of this book caught my eye and reeled me in. It sounded utterly compelling, and with promises of it being for fans of Stranger Things and the like, I was pretty excited heading into this book.There was definitely a sinister feeling throughout this book, that sense of being constantly stalked by something and making you scared of the dark corners, as well as that ‘80s vibe that is making a resurgence. Of course there’s a slight Stephen King-esque feel to this book. It’s a creepy horror with children/teens, and their friendship being a pivotal plot point. That seems to be a standard winning formula for Stephen King that Martin Stewart has borrowed here. However, unlike with King, I am a little unsure of the audience for this book? Initially I assumed young adults, but there’s a lot of quite graphic and disturbing scenes, so this is probably very borderline YA - if you’re not comfortable with graphic scenes and animals dying then I suggest you approach this with caution.The scene setting and world building was great, very creepy and vivid, creating a very immersive story that set my heart racing on more than one occasion. Some of the minor characters were great, Mario for one, whom I loved. I do wish there was a little more character development with the main characters though. Aside from Sep, there’s not really chance to get to know any of them and learn any of their backstories. The story is largely told from Sep’s perspective, but it would flit between other characters every now and then, but unfortunately the opportunity to develop the other characters wasn’t taken advantage of.I have to be honest, there was one thing, not actually related to the story, that ruined the reading experience for me at times. There were some chapters (flashback chapters) that were almost unreadable as the formatting was off and there were no spaces between the words for pretty much the entirety of the chapter. Obviously I know eArcs tend to have errors and the formatting isn’t what it will be in the final copy, which is why I never usually comment on these kind of things, but obviously this did have an impact on the enjoyment for me as I had to really try and power through those chapters rather than just skip them! So I might have missed important aspects in those chapters as I was focusing so hard on reading it that I didn’t actually absorb anything that happened in those chapters. If you’ve enjoyed the recent surge of ‘80s, retro shows and movies and a distinct horror vibe, then this is a book for you!
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  • Zaide
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, so I actually kind of loved this. Let’s face it, anything about a creepy Sacrifice Box was going to be on my TBR and I was lucky enough to be approved for a copy of this on Netgalley so I jumped right in! I’ve read some of the other reviews and took note of the issues that some people have had with it, and I will say this: it’s very much a marmite book. I feel like you’ll either really enjoy it, or really dislike it. It’s wonderfully creepy, slightly crazy and completely unique. It has chang Ok, so I actually kind of loved this. Let’s face it, anything about a creepy Sacrifice Box was going to be on my TBR and I was lucky enough to be approved for a copy of this on Netgalley so I jumped right in! I’ve read some of the other reviews and took note of the issues that some people have had with it, and I will say this: it’s very much a marmite book. I feel like you’ll either really enjoy it, or really dislike it. It’s wonderfully creepy, slightly crazy and completely unique. It has changing POV’s but is mostly from Sep’s POV and he was a character that I loved. In fact, I liked all of the main five - though it did take me a little longer to warm up to Lamb. They had a great group dynamic, each playing an important role - like Sep was the brains and Arkle the humour - and they fit so well together. The 80s setting and the underlying friendship vibe was very Stranger Things/IT and I completely loved that. There’s a very minor romance subplot but the focus is on the Sacrifice Box and the horrors it is unleashing on their town. Fair warning to potential readers, there’s a lot of death, blood and reanimated animals/people in this so if you’re a bit queasy about stuff like this then it’s probably not a book you’re going to enjoy. As it is, I’m not easily grossed out, and this is supposed to be horror so it didn’t bother me, and actually created some great yet brutal visuals. Ultimately this book is about friendship and love, but it’s done in a way that isn’t cliche or cheesy, it’s real and it’s honest. People openly admit their weaknesses and mistakes, and it’s such a refreshing change to the denial and ignorance we’re usually faced with in themes like this. For me, it’s one of my favourite horror reads this year and I’ll definitely be picking up a paperback copy of this when I can!
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  • Mike Sumner
    January 1, 1970
    With thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.Hmmm. Clearly aimed at a young readership, nevertheless I accepted the invitation to read The Sacrifice Box enticed by the considerable hype about the book. First off, for me, there is some ambiguity about the location. Definitely on an island, New York City is mentioned but I was puzzled by references where price is mentioned in Pounds Sterling - £1.70 for example. Martin Stewart is a native of Glasgow, Scotl With thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.Hmmm. Clearly aimed at a young readership, nevertheless I accepted the invitation to read The Sacrifice Box enticed by the considerable hype about the book. First off, for me, there is some ambiguity about the location. Definitely on an island, New York City is mentioned but I was puzzled by references where price is mentioned in Pounds Sterling - £1.70 for example. Martin Stewart is a native of Glasgow, Scotland; why would he set his story in the USA?Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley. Five youngsters on their own rite of passage. Doing what young folk do, one long, hot summer when they stumble across a stone box hidden in the forest and for some reason they decide to make a sacrifice to the box, something pertinent to each of them, that should stay in the box forever, like an old, stuffed teddy-bear:They make a pact:never return to the box at night;never visit it alone; never take back their offerings.Four years later their ‘friendship’ has drifted, they have pretty much forgotten about the box, until…. someone has broken the pact… Horrifying events start to occur, their sacrifices come back to haunt them with terrifying consequences. Perhaps they weren’t the first children to come across the box…SPOILER ALERTThere are moments of humour particularly with Arkle’s dialogue. But… I struggled to persevere with a plot that contains so much violence to animals. Zombie animals for goodness sake? Much of this I found most distasteful. Maybe I am too sensitive, but considering the book’s target audience, I don’t think so.2.5 stars from me.
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  • Jeni
    January 1, 1970
    Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.A quiet island, a horror story and an 80s soundtrack based around a group of teens makes for a dark YA story that may give you nightmares. Or perhaps flashbacks to your own childhood.September Hope and his friends stepped away from the blood brother oath and put prize possessions in to a box with mystical rules in the woods in the hope of binding them together, but like the 80s perm they eventually fell out. Fast forward several years to b Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.A quiet island, a horror story and an 80s soundtrack based around a group of teens makes for a dark YA story that may give you nightmares. Or perhaps flashbacks to your own childhood.September Hope and his friends stepped away from the blood brother oath and put prize possessions in to a box with mystical rules in the woods in the hope of binding them together, but like the 80s perm they eventually fell out. Fast forward several years to broken rules, broken friendships and teenage angst.This book is funny and dark, a great mix that make for a good book. The musical references feel redundant, however if they were a playlist that went along with the book that'd be better and would make for a great atmosphere. The characters are funny and could easily be your own friends. The jock, the brain, the bad boy, etc they are the 80s stereotypes, but they are familiar. My only issues with the characters were keeping them straight in my mind, they seem to blend together as does their dialogue. There are a few additional arcs to the story such as romance and a comet, but these feel like later addictions rather than actual story arcs. The actual story has a lot of elements that push it along. Zombies, dark crows and evil dolls - its enough to have you checking the closet and sleeping with the light on.Overall this is a fantastically dark YA that will keep your reading through the short snappy chapters. Grab this book for a single sitting or a weekend of darkness, but don't read expect to sleep too well afterwards.
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  • Karen Barber
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this prior to publication, but it should be noted that it’s hard to read a story when the text runs together as it does throughout this book. Puzzling out what is being said makes me less likely to want to read.Technical gripe aside, this book had some interesting messages about friendship and coming to terms with change. Unfortunately, the appeal of the book was definitely hampered for me by the way nothing quite fitted together.This is a story abo Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this prior to publication, but it should be noted that it’s hard to read a story when the text runs together as it does throughout this book. Puzzling out what is being said makes me less likely to want to read.Technical gripe aside, this book had some interesting messages about friendship and coming to terms with change. Unfortunately, the appeal of the book was definitely hampered for me by the way nothing quite fitted together.This is a story about friendship, but all the characters are quick to point out that they were never friends when the story began and haven’t spoken much in the four years since. We’re given quite vague characters with all but our main narrator, and the reasons for the box existing are not given.The book taps into the vibe for 80s themed friendship stories. The kids find a mysterious box in the woods, give it a sacrifice each and vow never to break their rules. Sadly, someone has and it sets off a chain of increasingly gruesome events focusing on inanimate objects coming to life.Supernatural horror and pretty graphic violence may be your cup of tea. In which case, you’ll find much to like. It was not really my thing, and the sense of too many things being lumped together made it hard for me to focus on this.
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  • The Breakneck Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    This book had me intrigued from the start. Stranger things meets Stephen King. What's not to like? I read this in one sitting it was that good the slow build into a fast paced horror this book has all the premise of a brilliant film. September (short for September) has one amazing summer where he and his friends Arkle, Mack, Hadley and Lamb find a box in a wood and decide to sacrifice things that would make them be friends. However move forward four years later,that summer is forgotten and Sep i This book had me intrigued from the start. Stranger things meets Stephen King. What's not to like? I read this in one sitting it was that good the slow build into a fast paced horror this book has all the premise of a brilliant film. September (short for September) has one amazing summer where he and his friends Arkle, Mack, Hadley and Lamb find a box in a wood and decide to sacrifice things that would make them be friends. However move forward four years later,that summer is forgotten and Sep is looking for ways to leave. Suddenly the four are at his side again and something is wrong. Someone broke the rules and the box is wanting revenge. On their hunt to right this wrong we see this group of strangers become something more their feelings of friendship slowly coming to the forefront. We go back further into the past, uncover more secrets about the box and the power it has. Dead things come back to life , loved ones are killed and finally Sep realises what he must do to stop this once and for all. Wow this book was good. So much so I was desperate to continue reading more of Martin Stewarts. I've already but in my preorder!
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