Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

How did I get the book? StorytellerInc Book Club

Genre: Horror

Review: I don’t know where I am with Rules for Vanishing… It ticks a lot of boxes for a good horror read. A legend, eerie atmosphere, a group of friends that are consumed by their own secrets as the “rules” they are supposed to follow work against them, ghosts, monsters, etc.

But it also feels a bit like this was a tick-box of a story. So much is there thats basically ticking off what is supposed to happen. So instead of travelling along a ghostly road with Sara and the others you feel like you are outside the story, watching. Analysing.

I enjoyed the format Kate Alice Marshall used to narrate what was happening, and some of the reveals really worked well. Also, I don’t mind the predictable horror aspects when they are worked well into a story, and there were some good moments.

Rules for Vanishing didn’t unnerve me, which was a pity. As mentioned, there are some good highlights (or scare-lights) that I was impressed with. The ending was quite convoluted and long, I didn’t find the conclusion as satisfying as I hoped, and I wonder if the story would have benefited from having less in it. Less legend, less reveals, less moments, less everything because then the reader had more opportunity to be pulled into the legend of the road and build their own nightmare version while travelling with the characters.

Review by Luna

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