In the summer of 1982, a box in the middle of the woods, one that has been buried for a long, long time, is unearthed in storm. The mysterious stone box has but three rules: never come to the box alone, never open it after dark, and never take back your sacrifice. One night, September Hope hears these rules in a dream, giving him an idea for something he and his four friends can do together before the summer ends. They each bring a sacrifice, either something that holds sentimental value or is symbolic, put them in the box, and recite the rules aloud. This was a symbol of their friendship, an unbreakable bond that they gave up something important for. That was what it was supposed to be, and yet they still found themselves drifting apart immediately once school started up again. Now it’s four years later, and somebody broke the rules of the box. When people start dropping like flies and their old troubles come back to torment them, can they learn to work together and mend what has been broken? Or will death come for them all?
I must admit, the story was pretty creative, even for a horror novel. A fault I often find in the genre is similar plots and repetitive use of generic plot elements, so it was a bit of relief for me this particular book didn’t turn out that way. There were some parts that seemed a little bit rushed, and I do wish they gave us a little bit more time to get to know the characters and get used to them before being thrown right into the midst of the conflict, but regardless it was still an intriguing story from start to finish. I recommend this book for any horror novel enthusiasts looking for something different.
The most memorable parts for me were the ways the box enacted its revenge on each individual person. It wasn’t just some generic “going to kill all your loved ones and then you” kind of revenge, they all were tied into their sacrifices and their significance somehow.
Reviewed by Dahlia Sherif, Twin Hickory Library