[Review] Campfire (2018)
Campfire – While camping in a remote location, Maddie Davenport gathers around the fire with her friends and family to tell scary stories. Caleb, the handsome young guide, shares the local legend of the ferocious Mountain Men who hunt unsuspecting campers and leave their mark by carving grisly antlers into their victims’ foreheads. The next day, the story comes true. Now Maddie and her family are lost in the deep woods–with no way out–being stalked by their worst nightmares. Because there were other, more horrifying stories told that night–and Maddie’s about to find out just how they end.
I’m always looking for a good horror book to read or a movie to watch, and while Campfire wasn’t everything I was hoping for, it was still a pretty good read. It was also listed under horror but it turned out to be more of a thriller or suspense. Part of this might actually be me because I’m a little too desensitized by the wide array of the more horrific and disturbing novels out there today. I think for people just getting into horror, or fancy a lighter version of horror will eat this book up. Perfect for the “Are You Afraid of the Dark” fans! However, I found it to be a little short on the horror aspect.
“Campfire” revolves around a group of family and friends who end up going into the mountains for a week-long camping trip. Maddie, our main character lost her mother in a tragic and horrible accident five years before and struggles to move past that terrible day. Ever since that day, some of Maddie’s family and friends have made a vow that they would all take vacations together each year. This year, the summer before her brother goes off to college, the family decides on a camping trip.
Everything starts off great and they are all having a wonderful time as they sit around the campfire. As the night goes on and to help pass the time, they decide to take turns telling scary stories. The really cute guide of their trip in the woods jokingly warns them that stories told around a campfire on the full moon tend to come true.
Soon after, their fun takes on a deadly turn when the campfire tales they shared slowly come to life. Some really creepy stuff starts taking place and while everyone seems to be a suspect, it’s also a race for survival to see who will come out of this nightmare alive.
There’s a lot of side plots within this story, which to me, sort of kept me distracted because they seemed like they were all over the place. There was a lot of stuff going on that could have and should have been cut down some. It just gave it an overall messy feel. Also, for a family that vowed to be together, who plans things as a family once a year, they sure had a lot of drama going on for a horror story.
The grown-ups were the worse. All of them were seemingly sleeping together and have been since their sorority days in college. Most had some serious alcohol and gambling addictions, and a couple of them had even plotted the murder of one of their wives. All of this added to the lack of horror, for me anyway, just a little too much of it going on.
As for the characters, the only one I could really relate to fully was Maddie, and I believe this was because she was mainly the only one that had a good backstory created for her. The others actually had very little or none at all, therefore, I did not care what happened to them and they felt very cookie-cutter, they were nothing special or unique. I like having feelings for the characters, love, hate, or just any sort of feelings, but they were all void and empty, and this made me sad.
The writing itself felt a little child-like, and the wording of the book felt a little simple. Sort of what an elementary school student would write his or her essay like. No adult-like words, and very basic and bland descriptors. I’m more forgiving in this area however, this is the writer’s debut book after all. I only hope he takes notice of some reviews, for I know there’s going to be many negative ones, and learns from them.
There’s a lot of potentials here if he could just learn to grow with it. Would I recommend this to others? Absolutely! It’s not really horror (more violence and gore than anything), and it’s not the best book around by far, but it was certainly fun, and that ending – wow, what a twist that was!
About the book Author
Shawn Sarles was born and raised in a small town in western Kentucky. After graduating from Wake Forest University, he moved to New York City. He has lived there and worked in the publishing industry for almost a decade. Campfire is his debut novel.
Author: Shawn Sarles
Published Date: July 17, 2018
Genre: Fiction, Horror, YA Thriller
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Pages: 304 pages
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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