Book #73: Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew S. Cox


She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.

Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.

On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.

Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.

I received a copy from the author for an honest review. I have not been compensated.

Boy is this a perfect read for Halloween season! I couldn’t, didn’t want to, and barely ever put it down. The pace is quick, people dying or being injured left and right, and as always Cox does great with his main character.

Let me begin by saying that the book reminded me of a great Halloween classic, The Craft. A group of teenage girls using magic and being kickass. Even if the movie was an inspiration, Nine Candles of Deepest Black is a dark story that deals with desires and loss. It is in a league of its own.

And now on to the rest…

Paige is no stranger to death and loneliness. She is a self-denying Goth who can see the spirit of her older sister. She and her family move to a rather small and quiet town, only to be placed into a situation that was more dangerous than originally thought.

As a character, Paige is rather complex. She is a teenaged girl with depression. As a female who was once a teen with depression (due to a drowning accident that almost killed my own sibling), her Goth reaction didn’t surprise me. She isn’t selfish despite the fact that she may seem like it at first. She also only grows stronger as the events unfurl.

I can’t say enough how much I love the way Cox portrays his female leads. They are strong emotionally and mentally. They may not be able to fight well hand to hand, but their inner strength is amazing. They can be snarky, innocent, and yet I don’t feel like they are cookie cutter damsel in distress or lovelorn teens. I love his female characters.

Paige is no different.

I have found another book in Cox’s repertoire that I love. I love this book as a standalone, but… I would love to see another story with Paige in it and wouldn’t be upset with the idea at all.

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