Book Review: And the Hills Opened Up by David Oppegaard

He wanted to shout them into the sky and have them taken by the wind. He wanted to be rid of their names and faces, the memory of their touch and he understood that his love for them was like a curse, a great eternal curse as strong and wicked as anything a demon could devise

-The Hills Opened Up, David Oppegaard

It’s the middle of the summer in Red Earth, Wyoming when miners blasted deeper into their copper mine. Little do they know, they unearthed a demon from within the mines and proceeded to kill everything in it’s path. At the same time the citizens of the town bands together as they try to stop the demon from killing everyone in town.

I picked up this book thinking it would be a fun campy horror book that would have some similar tone as the 1990 movie Tremors. Though the premise is almost the same where replace the monster with a humanoid demon referred to as The Charred Man. The novel is darker in tone, it is gory and it is non caring in a way that children, women and infants are killed in a violent and graphic way. So if you’re a fan of gore, guts and blood then this might be the book for you.

Unfortunately that’s the best the book has to offer. The characters are unlikable, there’s no one I wanted to root for, in the end I found myself rooting for the demon as everyone is selfish or are making nonsensical decisions. The women in the book are mostly whores or helpless housewives, the novel has no strong female character at all. Fortunately the book is only under 300 pages as it was quite difficult to keep up to it. Especially at the end where I felt like it dragged on for too long.

The pacing was also another problem as the book started out slow and it took a while to get to the second act. The second act did pick up, which is probably the best part of the book but only to be slowed down by the third act.

All in all, And the Hills Opened Up, had a lot of potential specially with it’s simple premise. It could’ve been fun and terrifying at the same time. However it’s dull characters and irregular pacing prevented me from liking at what could have been a great book.

Rating: 2.5/5


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