File Size: 333 KB
Print Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (14 Mar 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Alex joins his father on a business trip to Amsterdam. During the day he hangs out with the daughter of a family friend. They visit the usual sights but also coffee shops and flea markets off the beaten track. At one of these markets Alex spots an ancient-looking mask. Before he knows what he’s doing he buys it. Later, in his hotel room, he feels compelled to put the mask on. Alex is sucked into a parallel Amsterdam, one from centuries before which begins to reveal the dark past of both the building he is staying in and the little girl who once lived there . . . edging stealthily towards the terrible twist.
We begin Through Dead Eyes with Alex and his father Jeremy arriving at Schiphol Airport on a rainy day in March. Jeremy is an expert on WW2 and his recent book is a best seller in England and Holland. He’s in Amsterdam to meet with publishers and negotiate a TV deal.
On arrival at the hotel, Alex looks up and is drawn to a face at a window. This is the beginning of coincidences that pull Alex into another era.
Family friend Angelien is studying history for a doctorate and she has journals from an artist who lived across from what is now the hotel (although then it was the home of a wealthy merchant Van Kempen and his daughter Hanna). It is at the antiques market on one of their trips out that Alex is drawn to the Japanese mask. Each time he wears the mask, adjusting to a parallel world gets easier and easier.
Through Dead Eyes is not just about the mask. Running alongside the paranormal is Alex’ pain from his parents breakup and his crush on Angelien. Conflict comes from Angelien’s boyfriend. Amsterdam and the culture is portrayed really well and for me, learning a little about its history gave the story an added edge. My 3 x gt grandfather was a British citizen born in Holland in 1810 and this has given me added impetus to find out more!
On the flight on the way home from Amsterdam, Alex finds out the truth of Hanna and her family. This brings home that sometimes what we see is not the truth but our own interpretation of events! The journey in the car and the ending gave me shivers …
This is definitely a story that YA’s will love. They will identify with the parenting and confused emotions. The horror will engross and the ending will provoke thoughts of what could happen next …
I would like to thank the publishers for accepting my request to review on Netgalley.
About the Author
Chris Priestley lives in Cambridge with his wife and son. His novels are brilliantly original additions to a long tradition of horror stories by authors such as M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe.
Chris wrote one of the World Book Day books for 2011 and has been nominated for a variety of prestigious children’s book awards.