Cover Image: The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

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Member Reviews

I was looking for an entertaining read and I got it with this one! A haunted island, Hollywood hotshots swooping in to shoot the next big thing on screen, native people expected to be nothing less but grateful and reverent - we’ve all seen this movie right? Drawing on local legend, this is a gently subversive and thrilling horror with the fire of decoloniality at its centre. It is a tale that asserts there is always the possibility of forgiveness and renewal for us as humans, lest risking our demons consume us. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book!
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This book would definitely be a great read for spooky season! The creepy nature of the legend of the island was crafted really well, and it was a plus that the writer's prose flowed so well. It was easy to read, and I truly felt like I got sucked into the story and didn't want to put it down. All in all, definitely one I can see myself recommending. 

4 star.
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I was happy to have the chance to finally read something by YA author Rin Chupeco when NetGalley provided me with an ebook arc of “The Sacrifice,” and I’d definitely be open to reading more from this author in the future.
This book was a quick, fun read, and felt light despite it being horror. I really like that this book feels so unique among other YA fiction options - it’s a stand-alone, is contemporary horror/fantasy, is set in the Philippines, and has minimal romance. It follows the haunting events plaguing a film crew who have come to a magical island against the recommendation of all the locals… and they only have one person (the mysterious MC) to help protect them. 
The book didn’t have a profound message to impart, but it was still good fun. I liked the mystery of the MC, which added the element of an unreliable narrator. I didn’t think the (already minimal) romantic subplot was actually necessary at all, but it was fine. 
Overall, would recommend especially for youth collections looking for greater variety in YA fiction (not just diversity in terms of content, but also of genre).
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This book was so fun! I was seriously creeped out. Nothing is better than a deserted island setting.

I had high hopes for this book and it delivered. It had the spook factor I was looking for, a very likeable non-binary character, and a seriously killer ending.
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The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco takes place on a cursed island known as Kisapmata. The Filipino locals refuse to set foot on the island because they are well aware of the lives that have been lost there. A Hollywood film crew gets wind of this curse and plans to film a documentary series on it and the treasures that are supposedly hidden there. The legend claims that a sleeping god is waiting to grant powers to a mortal in exchange for eight sacrifices. Local teen Alon has been tasked by the producers to be their tour guide. Alon is the only local willing to go to the island with the crew. Not long after their arrival, a massive sinkhole appears, revealing a balete tree with a corpse entwined in it. Soon, things escalate as crew members start seeing visions. Alon knows the curse is taking its toll on these people. They must convince them to leave, or there is no chance of survival.

I was engrossed in the atmosphere of the story almost right away. I loved how reminiscent the Hollywood film crew was to the crew from King Kong. I also got major Lord of the Flies vibes later on in the story.
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I gave this a four out of five stars. I really enjoyed this and I like the characters. It wasn’t what I was expecting but it was good.
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My goodness I forget how deeply Rin Chupeco's horror titles spook me! They are a master at lush and atmospheric suspense. Can jump scares exist in books? Because I feel like Rin Chupeco is the ruler of literary jump scares and it terrifies me. This is horror rooted in colonialism and the characters who have so little respect for the island and the beliefs of locals, and they fully believe that money gets them what they want. That is not how it works when Gods are at play. This was just so good.
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It was a disjointed but interesting book. I found the premise fascinating but the POV choices definitely caused the story to falter. All in all enjoyable especially due to the phillipino culture threaded through the story.
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Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!!

I finished reading this a couple of months ago and wow. Just wow! Rin Chupeco certainly made a lasting impression on me with this anti-colonizer story. The worldbuilding, most of the characters, and the island setting all felt real to me. Honestly, I had to look over my shoulders a few times to make sure there wasn't something trying to creep out to get me. Ahhh!! I just loved this. But enough fan-girling from me, let's get down to the review.

The story starts with Alon, a young non-binary fisherman, who, along with his dog, Askal, is the keeper of the deserted island of Kisapmata due to its haunting legend. Stories from the others on the islands tell of a death god who is sleeping and needs sacrifices to awaken and will bring about rebirth or destruction. Several humans have tried, which has led to strange disappearances and brutal murders. Alon guards the island until they are persuaded by a camera crew to be their guide under the guise of providing Alon with enough money to help care for their ailing father. What follows is a tale of horror, intrigue, and awesome East Asian mythology.

My likes: I love the scares. I forgot that books can give you jump scares, so many thanks to Rin for giving them to me during the spooky season. I love a good horror book that leaves me wanting to sleep with the light on, but also gets inside of my head, which this book does very well. Rin paces the horror with a bit of comedy and a little romance very nicely so that I didn't feel overwhelmed with the horror at times or suffocated with the minor romance and teen angst. Also, I'm so glad that the Black character in this wasn't a caricature of Black people by using outdated or cringe-worthy language. He felt like a genuine, well-crafted character and not just some stock image of "Insert Black person here for diversity". Major kudos again for Rin's dedication to diverse and well-fleshed-out characters.

My dislikes: The naming of certain characters and misgendering of Alon. As the story is told from Alon's perspective, some of the characters are only named for their characteristics or clothing, which isn't a bad thing, but sometimes can get confusing when there is a group of characters talking or performing some action.

The misgendering was annoying, but I guess I can't be too annoyed since it was from the perspective of clueless people who couldn't even be bothered to head the warnings of a cursed island, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch for them to call a non-binary person by "he" all of the time. Meh. But if you are trans/nb, this would be something to keep an eye out for.

Honestly, even though the spooky season has passed and we're all winding down from the mad rush of the holidays, I would definitely recommend this to everyone that can possibly get their hands on this book. Ms. Chupeco put a lot of heart and soul into this book and it shows on every page. If you're looking for East Asian mythology, diverse characters, nb-rep, and a sinister story hiding behind a plush atmosphere, I highly recommend this book.

Oh, that ending is just *chef's kiss*.
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Rin Chupeco is a horror genius! Every book of hers that I pick up I end up wanting more! This one was creepy and full of twists and turns!
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Rin Chupeco is quickly becoming a go-to horror author for me.  All their books are fast-paced, compelling, and easy to read with an important message. This book follows a teen who is tasked with guiding a reality television crew around a supposedly cursed island. We quickly find out that this is true, and follow Alon, the local teen, as they try to convince the team of this. This is a fun horror story, but it does well at covering important topics. The TV crew does not take any local warnings seriously and often disrespects the island's god. It feels all too real to current situations and stories about tourists not respecting native land. This particular story is set in the Phillippines but the themes can be applied to many countries. 

This message is important and necessary, but I believe my young readers will be drawn in by the action and horror in this. There's also a very sweet queer romance. Much of the horror elements revolve around plants and the natural world, which I love, and will be refreshing for students who are used to ghost stories. This is haunting in its own way but also relies on real-world horrors, like the greed of men. The ending is full of action that one might get lost, but there are a few great twists and turns. And even if it drags for a few chapters, the final chapter is really lovely and makes it all worth it. 

Ultimately, this was a great read that I am hoping to add to our library collection. I wish I grew more attached to the characters, but this was still exciting and unique. Can't wait to read whatever spooky story Rin Chupeco writes next.
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Story of the book-

In this chilling tale from the critically renowned author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy, an island sanctuary becomes deadly as a horrifying rumor threatens to murder tourists one at a time.

The island of Kisapmata would be a popular holiday spot because of its immaculate beaches, abundant vegetation, and pleasant weather, but for the curse. Locals in the Philippines avoid going near the island and only speak about it in whispers. They are aware of the lives it has taken. They won’t come after. A Hollywood film team won’t be dissuaded. According to legend, a sleeping Dreamer deity waits to bestow unfathomable abilities in exchange for eight sacrifices. The producers are committed to recording the proof. They also persuade Alon, a local teenager, to act as their guide.

Moments after they arrive, a massive sinkhole opens up, exposing a massive balete tree with a mummified body entangled in its twisted branches. The group also begins to experience odd visions. Alon is aware that they are being harmed by the island’s curse. Who will live if Alon is unsuccessful in getting them to go? Or the extent of the Dreamer god’s destruction.

My review-

The Sacrifice is incredibly tense and will stay with me for a very long time. Chupeco has a real knack for creating a mood. This was so much fun for me. This novel by Rin Chupeco was fantastically eerie and spooky. My attention was held by the tense and quick-paced narrative since frightening events occurred again throughout each chapter. The suspense, terror, and growing dread that permeates the island are increased rather than diminished by a lovely romance that develops spontaneously. I adored how it was executed. Very authentic and subtly done. I adore that our main character is a non-binary Filipino and that they had a fairly perfect love story along the way.

I like how Chupeco incorporates traditional culture, history, and mythology into her writing to give her eerie stories a feeling of reality, and it’s interesting to discover new things about civilizations I may not otherwise be exposed to. This novel has a tonne of topics, which is probably one of the main reasons I fell so deeply in love with it. The themes that the author intends to cover in her writings are never held back. Alon is already aware of how the island functions and its curse, so the first-person perspective adds a great touch. As a result, they observe other people’s responses with a certain amount of nonchalance. This book has a great fright factor.

I struggled to read it again because of some of the mythology and the mechanics of the island and curse, but apart from that, I don’t have any problems. This narrative is nearly difficult to put down since it is so full of eerie imagery, haunting apparitions, poisonous fauna, tunnels filled with the darkest of secrets, short chapters, loads of action, and even a few humorous moments. This book is for you if you enjoy adventure horror stories where a lot of clueless white folks travel to a strange place with little regard for the local legends and beliefs and end up dying as a result.
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I can’t tell you how excited I was to read this book and it did not really disappointed. I had a couple moments that we’re a little slow for me, but the book was overall a good book to read. I would definitely recommend it.
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I love the writing style of this author, and the idea of the story was great. The disconnect of attempting to include a teen-ish romance destroyed the character development, in my personal opinion. While the connection of the boy Alon and the Diwata as a sort of father-son relationship makes sense, it just seems like it could have been explored better and mentioned sooner, but the way it was tossed in felt like it was added for shock factor and not actual development of the story.
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⭐⭐⭐⭐ -- Great cover on this one!

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was well written and well paced. The setting was atmospheric. The plot was engaging with hints of colonialism, mythology, and traditional culture. The characters were well developed and intriguing. I pretty much read this one all in one go! 👍🏻👍🏻

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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The Sacrifice is an amazing horror story set on a legendary and terrifying island in the Philippines. Kisipmata is a place of superstition and fear for locals and has long been tied to a tremendous amount of death. The one local who seems unafraid of the island is a fisher named Alon. When a film crew shows up hoping to search for lost treasure on the haunted island, Alon is asked to guide them and is offered a hefty sum in order to do so. However, despite the warnings that they continue to get from the island, and no matter how Alon tries to warn them, they do not heed. Alon has special ties to the island, but they also develop special ties to the teenage son of one of the producers, which makes him invested in the fate of the crew. 

Quickly, things turn for the crew. People disappear. Faceless figures appear amongst the trees, familiar voices of the crew’s loved ones begin whispering in their ears, and the very topography of the island seems to change overnight, including a sinkhole that reveals a balete tree twisted around a mummified body. When they experience a storm that doesn’t seem to be on anyone else’s radar, it effectively traps the entire crew. As bodies begin to pile up, the intentions of some members of the team are revealed. In a terrifying crescendo, we begin to learn the secrets that lay under the surface of the island. Will Alon be able to protect those worthy of rescue or will the island, and the Dreamer god that sleeps there, claim everyone?

I thought The Sacrifice was super good. I definitely enjoyed the ride. I also loved that Alon, as the main character, was gender neutral. It was a great form of representation. It was also just a great horror novel. The setting was lush and incredibly creepy and the various twists were pretty unexpected. Rin Chupeco has an excellent ability to creepy out readers while also giving some of the characters the proper comeuppance. I mean, if an entire culture of people tell you not to go to an island because it has supernatural significance, don’t go! Respect other people’s cultures. Good sakes. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourebooks Fire for the advanced copy in exchange for this honest review.
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"The Sacrifice" was such an eerie read! I enjoyed it very much & thought the lore was super interesting! It was very well written.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the ARC.

A Hollywood film crew invades the island of Kisapmata, hoping to find fame by capturing the spooky island mysteries on film.  Many, including the locals, have claimed to see strange figures on the island.  No one but Alon ever sets foot there, which is why the crew has hired them to be their guide.

For the first 80% of this book, I was hooked.  Completely sucked in to the legend and entirely curious about Alon.  Five stars for the first 80%.  I got to the big shocking reveal at the end and...was underwhelmed.  I had so much hope!  And all I thought when it was over was "oh."

I'm choosing to ignore the plot twist and still give 4 stars for the first chunk of the story.
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This was such a fun quick read and my first experience with the author. The story unfolds on an island in the Philippines that is rumored to be haunted. Multiple deaths have been linked to the island, and now it has caught the attention of Hollywood. A film crew arrives to start filming a reality show with a disgraced famous ghost hunter. People do not live on the island due to the legends and the only person who is brave enough to step foot on the island is a teenager named Alon. The crew soon hires Alon to show them around. Alon makes several attempts to warn the crew to leave the island and return to safety. These warnings are ignored. But soon the crew starts hearing screams, experiencing hallucinations, and weird things keep happening. Soon intentions and secrets are revealed; things go from bad to worse. The ending was decent, it did well wrapping things up. I definitely want to know what happens next for Alon.
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The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco was a perfect read for October. With its tropical paradise setting, ominous curse, and mysterious narrator, Mx. Chupeco sets the tone from the opening page. Add in a mostly unlikeable Hollywood crew, and you honestly do not know if it is so much a horror story as it is a much-deserved comeuppance. Interestingly, a reader could interpret The Sacrifice as a warning story regarding imperialism since the Hollywood execs land on the island laughing at native superstition and lack of technology.

Mx. Chupeco does an excellent job of keeping readers guessing while keeping them on edge. They create an intriguing combination of curiosity and tension as the events on the island become more ominous while remaining baffling. Readers will need to continue to read to get answers while feeling a considerable level of anxiety at the creepiness of the events. It is precisely what you want for a spooky read, and I recommend The Sacrifice the next time you want to scratch that horror itch.
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