Book Review: The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

First things first: The Sacrifice Box is a horror. I did not think this from the blurb and so was somewhat surprised when the book took a really scary turn. Horror isn’t usually a genre I read, but this one I enjoyed very much.

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September (Sep), Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley discover an ancient box in the forest one summer. They each agree to sacrifice something special to them, in an act that should secure their friendship forever as long as they follow the simple rules: never go to the box at night, never go to the box alone and never take back their sacrifice.

The story picks up four years later when the group have drifted apart and are not on good terms. Strange and sinister things start to happen to them and they realise that one of them has broken the pact. No-one will own up to it. Can they fix it before the box consumes them all?

The Sacrifice Box moves backwards and forwards in time, so alongside the story of Sep and his friends, we read the stories of those who have come to the sacrifice box before them, the sacrifices they made and the horrors they experience when they break the rules. This adds an extra level of tension for the reader. It kept me hooked to the end, and that almost never happens with a horror story for me.

Each member of the group has their own story and is experiencing their own personal issues alongside the problem of the box, and these are all portrayed well and explored throughout the story. Arkle also adds a much-needed injection of laugh-out-loud humour to an otherwise very dark story. Both these things are necessary to break up the horror: without these, it would just be too much for me. I honestly think The Sacrifice Box is the scariest thing I have ever read.

It is also a wonderful tale of friendship. When the group find out what they have to do to stop the horror, it forces them to reevaluate their relationship to each other. I loved seeing the group working through their difficulties and the problems in their friendship.

Can they put aside their differences for the greater good? You’ll have to read it to find out.

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