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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
A few teenagers get more than they bargained for in Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox. It all starts with the appearance of Paige, who recently lost her bigger sister and moved to a small, peaceful town with her parents and her younger sister. The family hoped that the move would bring peace back into their lives. After all, what could possibly go wrong in the quiet little town of Shadesboro, PA? More than you think! On her first day at the new school, Paige already finds a group of friends – a group that is interested in Wicca, but so far failed at really doing something magical. For some reason, Paige seems to have the certain extra that is needed to make magic work. The friends plan a special ritual, and Paige agrees to take part. After all, what can possibly go wrong? It’s just a bit of harmless fun, right? During the ritual, each of the girls makes a wish that is close to their hearts. What they do not know is that the magic they invoked is a dark magic which will do what they wish for, but in ways they would not have chosen themselves.
I was positively surprised by the quality of Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox. So very often, books that involve teenagers and witchcraft turn into something really idiotic and/or cheesy. This plot is neither. I also was a bit worried about it being in the “horror” category, because there aren’t many good horror authors these days (I often don’t even get past the first 50 pages of many horror books because they’re so mind-numbingly dumb). I was glad that the author seems to have done his research as the ritual and the consequences made sense and were fitting for a horror tale, but not a gory, annoying horror story. This is a quality horror with psycho-horror elements, but also the very real and deadly elements. It’s a great story about a ritual gone right, but also gone so very wrong (the saying “Be careful what you wish for” comes to mind). I found the plot to be quite clever and exciting. I enjoyed the read and am glad that there are still writers out there who know how to create tension and excitement without using cheap tricks.