Summer is wrapping up, school is beginning, and before you know it, spooky season will be among us. And what better way to prepare for it than curling up with a haunting book? Burden Falls by Kat Ellis tells the frightening tale of Ava Thorn, a young woman that has dealt with far more than her fair share of trauma.
A year prior, she witnessed her parents’ tragic deaths in a car accident that left her hands badly scarred. Now she is losing her home to the man who was responsible for the accident. Finally, Ava’s classmates are showing up dead, gaping and bloody holes where their eyes should be. There are whispers of Dead-Eyed Sadie, the town’s resident haunt, being liable for the deaths.
I do want readers to be aware, before reading this book, of some potentially distressing topics covered in its pages, including child murder, claustrophobia, drugs, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Ellis does a fantastic job at illustrating her setting and characters
She skillfully immerses her readers in her fictional universe. There were moments where I felt trapped in the town of Burden Falls, to the point where I genuinely felt relieved when the characters found themselves outside the borders. Ellis masterfully captures the atmosphere of the fear that wreaks havoc on the town’s denizens, from the creepy lore of Dead-Eyed Sadie to the terror of discovering a new murder.
The image that Ellis creates of the gaunt, horrific, and eye-less Dead-Eyed Sadie was particularly impactful.
Our protagonist, Ava, is very well-written and realistic
She is incredibly strong, having faced one of the worst tragedies that any young person could ever face and come out the other side, but she is also flawed when it comes to her judgements and impressions of other people.
Ellis also does a great job at writing Ava’s inner turmoil throughout Burden Falls when she struggles with her relationships with people in her life, from her best friend Ford to the man responsible for her parents’ deaths. As the events of the book exacerbate, the emotions that cut through Ava are incredibly stirring. This is especially true when Ava is confronted with separating the supernatural from reality when the pressure of the town’s speculations, unsolved deaths, and her family’s historical role in the Dead-Eyed Sadie legend threaten to rip apart her psyche.
Without a doubt, Burden Falls is a horrifying and chilling novel by Kat Ellis that will leave you at the edge of your seat and turning the pages with a fervor to get to the end.
Also, there is an actual waterfall named Burden Falls in southern Illinois, which is my home state! If you find yourself in the area, just keep your eyes peeled for Dead-Eyed Sadie.
Burden Falls by Kat Ellis was released August 24th, 2021.