A mysterious letter suggestive of a terrible tragedy leads Phoenix, his father and his cousin Rose to spend the summer at Gravenhunger Manor: secret property of Phoenix’s recently deceased mother and officially the creepiest place on earth. Fact. Eerie goings on and frightening warnings don’t stop Phoenix from trying to solve his mother’s mystery and, with help from his cousin, he manages to uncover the secret of Gravenhunger Manor, with chilling consequences.
This book is crammed with suspense, action and edge-of-your seat moments, as well as unexpected twists. The pulse-quickening pace of the story makes it exceptionally hard to put down, especially towards the end when the narrative is split between the parallel actions of Phoenix in the present day and his mother as a child in the past.
I must admit, this book is genuinely scary!
I had several moments where I nearly jumped out of my skin while reading it and had to force myself to continue on at times, despite suspecting what supernatural horrors lay on the pages ahead. That is not to say, however, that this book is unsuitable for young readers – I just have the horror-tolerance of a six-year-old. Gravenhunger has all the makings of a good spooky adventure story – child duo trying to solve the mystery, secrets of the past resurfacing, an old neighbour with an ominous warning – and while the setting of an old haunted house is a tad overdone, Harriet Goodwin really makes it work in this story, giving it a timeless quality.