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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ARC Review: The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe by Dan Poblocki + Giveaway!

Wouldn't it be fun to live in your own world? Sometimes, yes. But sometimes it can get dangerous, and sometimes it can be deadly.

Title: The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe by Dan Poblocki
Release Date: July 30th 2013
Published by: Scholastic Press
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


Has Gabriel created a monster?

Gabe and Seth used to play make-believe games in the woods behind Seth's family farm. It was the perfect creepy landscape for imagining they were up against beasts and monsters and villains.

Just as Gabe's decided he's outgrown their childish games, though, it appears that their most monstrous creation could be real.

Is there a ghoulish man-eating creature prowling the woods for victims? Or is Seth just determined to make Gabe think so -- no matter who gets hurt in the process?

Gabe's not sure which answer would prove more unsettling, but he's determined to learn the truth.

This is the first time I am reading a Dan Poblocki book, and needless to say I came prepared. Or so I thought. The very thought of reading a book tagged as "horror" is a challenge for someone with an overly active imagination like me. In some ways, I am like Gabe, creating a magical world where one is free to roam and be what one wants to be, only in Gabe's case, the make believe sometimes is true.

Gabe moved in with his family to his grandmother's famous mansion when a fire destroyed his house. There he met Seth, and they've been playing a game in the woods, where they were Robber Princes intent on destroying the Hunter. It was just a game, until weird things started happening not only to Gabe but to his classmates as well. Someone was always watching, and at first he thought it was Seth, but when they discovered it was someone else, someone more frightening and sinister than they can imagine, the race to uncover a fifty year old mystery starts. It's time for the Robber Princes to defeat the Hunter, or they might ended up being eaten for real.

The very problem this book posed to me as a reader was my difficulty connecting with the characters. I initially neither cared nor hated both Seth and Gabe at the start. Their personalities felt too weak, bland and boring for me. I even admit to skimming some parts of the first 50 pages. But as I started reading more, I began to understand a lot of things. Seth was bullied because he was different, and Gabe was popular because his grandmother is a famous illustrator. Against his better judgment, Gabe shunned Seth which caused him to say things he didn't mean, and it unleashed a horror they weren't prepared for. In some ways I felt sad for them. Would Gabe still be popular if he was an ordinary boy who didn't live in a grand house on a hill? Would Seth be bullied if people understood him more?

By the middle of the story, I was still fine. Seeing shadows moving? Maybe it's a trick of the eye. It wasn't that scary. Seeing a pair of blue eyes? Not really. But when inanimate objects started moving by themselves, a boy appearing out of nowhere, the darkness started shifting as if it has a mind of its own and when the sounds became louder and more frightening, I felt goosebumps every now and then. Why is it happening? Why Gabe? Why Seth? This was it, mystery and horror combining. And when the mysteries started unraveling one by one, that's when it felt like the story finally came to life.

The shift from the game, what's inside Gabe's head and what was really happening tend to be a little tricky, and it took a while for me to pick up important clues and the connection of each flashback to reality. It might be a little confusing for readers as it will require a little bit of focus to follow the flow of the story, but once curiosity takes over, you will find yourself wanting to know more like Gabe and Seth does. With the occasional outburst of surprising scenes peppered throughout the story, it builds up until the unexpected end. The way it ended gave me a different impression of the story as a whole, as I find myself a little sad with the events that occurred.

The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe is the kind of book that requires a second glance and a little bit of perseverance and patience to enjoy, but once you catch on, it's quite an entertaining though at times surprising read. It makes you wary of shadows and feeds a person's paranoid side. Maybe there's something lurking in the shadows. Or maybe our mind is playing tricks on us. It makes a person think that maybe, just maybe, there's truth hidden in some of the stories, no matter how scary they might be, that we read. Quite a suitable read for Halloween, if I may say so.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
A 3.5, close to 4 butterflies of a read. What pushed me into reading more was when things started becoming "real", otherwise it could just have been the word of a boy against another. The jump from "before" "now" and the world of Meatpie and Wraithen (Gabe and Seth) tends to be a little confusing as well if you aren't paying a lot of attention to the story.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
If the aim of the cover is to scare the reader, then it succeeded. It has a potential of giving nightmares to younger kids.


I'm giving away my ARC of The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe. Even though it's almost Christmas, if you're in the mood for a scary read, then enter!


Open to Philippine residents only
Must be at least 13 years old to enter
Ends December 21st.


  1. When I was a lot younger, I was babysitting and I heard voices in the house when no else was there. dwelchert at yahoo dot com


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