Published: October 2006
Genre: young adult, gothic, horror, sci fi
Raven’s Gate was closed long ago by five children. On the coming Roodmas black magic festival, blood sacrifice can re-open the portal. Professor Dravid sees power in orphan Matt, 14. But all who help the lad die. His new guardian Mrs Deverill, with the Yorkshire village of Little Malling, are powering up the abandoned local nuclear plant for the evil Old Ones to return.
Fourteen-year-old orphan Matt is accused of a crime he did not commit and is sentenced to a year’s time within the government’s LEAF project — Liberty and Education Achieved through Fostering. When Mrs. Deverill brings him to Hive Hill in Yorkshire’s Little Malling, Matt instantly realizes something is not quite right. The villagers are mad. All the roads lead back to the same intersection. And a strange abandoned nuclear power plant is lighting up at night. Matt risks his life to find the answers to all of his questions, included the most avoided of all: what is Raven’s Gate?
Horowitz has made a name for himself in young adult fantasy and horror. He has everything a great writer should have: good plots, engaging characters, steady pacing, and enough mystery to keep the reader going. Unfortunately, this book was not for me and I found it lacking. It simply did not hold my interest.
I will note though that there are plenty of chapters here that lived out my worst nightmares. There’s a whole section dedicated to Matt riding a bicycle in the middle of the night to escape Hive Hall. He comes to an intersection of five roads, and with each path he takes, he ends up back where he started. It was a never-ending nightmare, moving quickly and yet going nowhere, never escaping. The horror elements of this novel were spot on, and the science fiction aspects between nuclear energy and black magic could be very intriguing for those with that particular taste.