To Break a Covenant Book Tour + Review

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing well! Today I’m back with another book tour post, courtesy of the fantastic TBR & Beyond Tours for another spooky read that you need to have on your Halloween TBR! Admittedly, I didn’t intend to have two book tour posts back to back, but life just caught up with me, however I do really enjoy making these posts and I hope you enjoy my review too and make sure to check out all the other wonderful posts on the tour!

Title: To Break A Covenant

Author: Alison Ames

Pages: 320

Genre: Horror, Thriller, LGBT+, Young Adult

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis: Debut voice Alison Ames delivers with a chilling, feminist thriller, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls and Sawkill Girls.

Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.

Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.

I have been in a real sapphic horror kick and have been dying to pick this one up ever since it was first announced. I love a good spooky, mysterious town and this ticked so many boxes for me! To Break a Covenant follows Clem and her best friends Nina and Lisey as a new girl, Piper, comes to town. Piper’s dad has been hired to ensure that the town’s old mine shaft is still stable and won’t collapse suddenly, but the only problem is that the mine has been causing the townspeople to have strange nightmares and hear strange voices. When Piper’s dad starts acting strangely the girls must take things into their own hands and enter the mine themselves.

I absolutely adore atmospheric writing and I think Alison Ames managed to construct one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read. The book is set in Moon Basin in the height of summer – imagine sweltering heat and hazy horizons, coyotes howling and humid mineshafts – and the author managed to capture the essence of the town perfectly. I could easily imagine myself there alongside Clem, practically smell the smoke from the underground fires and feel the heat wash over me, and it made for a particularly unnerving read. I am a frequent complainer of spooky things always being set in some dark town with really dim lighting (I have poor eyesight, okay, let me have something!), but I always find horror novels and shows that much scarier when they focus on a town that is terrifying even in the middle of the day, so I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

One of the absolute highlights of this book is the main characters, and I’m far from being the only person to love this! Clem, Nina, Lisey and Piper would do absolutely anything for each other – even dying for each other – and their strong, unbreakable bond was, for lack of a better word, just so good to read. Seeing their love and immediate acceptance for each other and all their quirks, as well as the lengths they would go for one another was just so heart-warming and I adored their bond. There’s a sapphic romance in this book which was just so wonderful – and featured some of my absolute favourite tropes (hello friends-to-lovers and we-might-not-make-it-through-this-so-I-have-to-kiss-you-Right-Now!). It didn’t go in the direction I thought it might from the beginning of the book but I adored it nonetheless.

I can’t go too much into the plot for obvious reasons but aside from the amazing atmosphere, this book was just unbelievably creepy. I loved how we got snippets throughout of transcriptions from recordings that paranormal investigator shows had done throughout the past and I think it really added to the sense of foreboding as the mine took over. There is some mild gore at times in the book so be aware of that, but I think it was done really well, as someone who is extremely squeamish.

My one negative remark about the book is the ending. It’s an open ending which I generally don’t like, though I do think that it worked really well for this book and can’t see it ending any other way. However, I don’t think we got enough explanations – what was that weird clearing where everything was okay all about, what actually happened to the miners, what was going on in the mines in the first place and what was the root of the paranormal activity, Lisey?????? Like I said, I think the overall ending to the story was perfect, but as I got to the 95% mark and there was still so much unresolved, I was starting to have my doubts, and I wish it had been a tad bit longer so that everything else could have got wrapped up because it felt like the author had come up with this wonderful idea of a haunted mine but didn’t really know how to explain it and just went here’s an ambiguous ending, please work it out on your own. But we couldn’t work it out on our own because we weren’t supplied with enough information!

Regardless, I would highly, highly recommend this book for the upcoming spooky season, and if you’re trying to hold onto that summer weather then this book will be perfect for you. I absolutely adored the female friendships in this book and the unsettling nature of the book was absolutely fantastic, and I can’t wait to read what Alison Ames releases next!

About the Author:

Alison Ames is a writer based in Colorado. Her debut novel To Break A Covenant will be published in fall 2021.

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