Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Thought Corner: Dead Voices by Katherine Arden (Reread)

Why hello there. It’s October 20th, and today I’m continuing my reread of the first two books of the Small Spaces series by Katherine Arden. The goal is to refresh my memory of the books before reading Dark Waters, the third installment of the series.

I had a great reading experience with my Small Spaces reread—which I detailed HERE—and was eager to dive into the second book.

A bit of history…

I read Dead Voices not long after Small Spaces, as I started the series a few months shy of when the second book was due to release. As a consequence, I read them both in 2019, and I did go and check my Goodreads to be sure I had the dates right. Of the two, I recalled the least about Dead Voices. I knew it was one of my favorite reads of 2019 and that it had something to do with a mountain, and an isolated ski resort during a winter storm. It was definitely time for a reread.

The rundown…

Small Spaces ends at a place of so much potential. This was due to a couple of unresolved mysteries and an offhanded comment made by the smiling man. And Dead Voices is a fitting sequel for it. The perspective branches out beyond just Ollie’s, to Coco’s too, though the trio is together again and headed off to a vacation at a ski resort on Mount Hemlock that’s yet to open to the public. It’s the perfect sort of isolated set up to get the story rolling toward the inevitably creepy adventure later on. It was all thanks to a bit of luck (?) on Ollie’s dad’s part, though given the context of the series, coincidences are suspicious.

Since this was the second book, there was less time spent introducing the characters, though the story does do a little recap of the events of Small Spaces in an abbreviated fashion. I would still read the books in order though. And getting the second perspective afforded another look at the story outside of Ollie’s view of it, as well as more information about Coco. There was more about her fears and her hobbies and other interests.

Much like Small Spaces, I came away with a greater appreciation for the story, the characters, and the detailed world. It felt lived in, with its own stories within the story—think urban legends, local ghost stories, and unsolved disappearances—that were wrapped up with the clues about the history of the area and the ski resort.

A highlight of the book was the friendship between Ollie, Coco, and Brian. It was a bond that was tested. But there was never any doubt that the three were great friends. They trusted each other. And they often tended to try and stick together to solve their problems, which was just great to see.

Let’s get spooky…

Whether it’s just an ordinary place filled with interesting items, or a bona fide haunting, I love a good house story. These stories can include other places besides homes, of course. But some of my favorites centered on the people while also exploring the places as their own sort of characters—as well as sometimes unraveling a mystery of what haunts the walls. The ski resort finds itself somewhere in there with its long and tragic history. Its story—and that of the people who once and currently know it—was just as relevant as that of Ollie, Coco, and Brian.

Games really took a high stakes and terrifying twist in Dead Voices, where being too trusting and ignoring or misinterpreting warnings could have consequences. It was like a game of chess at times, with the trio having to trust in their skills and in each other. It was far from fun for the characters, but it was such a good story.

In conclusion…

I’m glad I did this reread. I’m prepared for Dark Waters, and I look forward to reading it soon. Until then, happy reading!


Comments are appreciated and always welcome. :)

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