Book Review: The Wildstorm Curse by Eve Wersocki Morris

From the publisher:

A fabled witch. A powerful curse. A monster out for revenge.

13-year-old Kallie Tamm can’t wait to spend a week of her summer holidays at the Wildstorm Theatre Camp: she’s determined not to let her dyslexia hold her back from achieving her dream of becoming a playwright. The finale of the whole week is a performance in the local village theatre. But as soon as she arrives, Kallie discovers that the cast will be performing a play written by a 17th Century witch, Ellsabet Graveheart, and strange, scary things start happening. Unbeknown to Kallie, a dark shadow is stirring in the woodland near Wildstorm: an ancient and dangerous creature has awoken from a centuries old slumber, and they’re out for revenge, putting Kallie and all of her new friends in grave danger.

My review: I’ve been steeped in high fantasy/secondary worlds for the past few weeks so a dip into contemporary mystery-horror was a big change, but a very enjoyable one! The Wildstorm Curse is a gripping, fast-paced story with many elements that will appeal to horror fans, myself included, as well as a heart-felt story of friendship and the power of storytelling.

Highlights for me:

This theme of story-telling and the power of words: The story concerns the poison of lies as well as touches on the liberating power of truth. The strength of friendship and perseverance in the face of evil also features strongly in the story, and I liked the parallels between the past and the present.

I really liked Kallie. She arrives in the camp as a fish out of water (one of two new kids) in the dead of night, encountering the grim theatre director, before being led to a darkened tent and given only a small torch – it’s very atmospheric! Kallie is at the camp only because she won a play writing competition. She’s also dyslexic, and her struggles and means of coping are authentically depicted. I was glad she made friends with Emilia (their banter lightened the darker side of the story). I loved the mystery of the past and the antics Kallie and Emilia get up to in their investigations, but I suspect even without her friends’ support, Kallie would have kept going in her battle against evil.

I loved the setting of a theatre camp, inspired by the author’s own teenage experience. This one has a purpose-built 400-year old theatre, in which a play has never been performed, apparently due to the ancient curse. I loved how the local villagers milked the story of the curse with their Ellsabet-the-witch-themed tea-towels and other knick-knacks, before being turned into an angry mob (like that of four centuries earlier!).

The horror elements: creepy woods, an evil and vengeful entity (demon??) lurking there, turning people into empty shells to do its will, an enemy hidden amongst them, tattoos that change with phases of the moon as the hour of reckoning comes… I loved all these plot elements but they are dark, although appropriately handled for the age group generally, but perhaps not for every reader.

Overall this is an exciting read, with lots of action and tension, and a satisfying story, some great characters and a strong plot, so check it out!

14 responses to “Book Review: The Wildstorm Curse by Eve Wersocki Morris”

  1. I don’t read horror, but you do make this one sound great. I do love a story set in any kind of theatre setting, and there are a lot of curse stories around theatre. I’ll put this one on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

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