Cover Image: The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

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Member Reviews

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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Creepy Philippino legends with a Hollywood twist and murderous god-vibes? Sign me up! A forbidden, dangerous island with a god looking to be released from his bonds through eight sacrifices, a Hollywood team looking to crack the story and make money off the legends, and a young boy hoping to keep both in check. When the team of producers, cameramen and other TV show-making staff arrives on his Island, Alon acts as their guide: because no one else will, And because the island knows him - he seems to be favored by this Dreamer god that begins killing the arrivals almost as soon as they are settled in on the island. 

But the lead actor on the show has more than just a career invested into this spooky-island project. His motives might just be a bit more sinister than that. Amidst the horror, a blooming friendship is beginning between Alon and the producers son; which makes things a bit more challenging for Alon as he navigates the island and the threat these Western visitors pose to it. 

This was a fun adventure with murder, mystery, ancient deities, and a little bit of romance all thrown together. Rin Chupeco does it again! Highly recommend.
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Tales of a cursed and haunted island in the Philippines bring an investigative television crew hoping to gather footage to produce a new reality show starring a famous ghost investigator whose character has been in question   for awhile so he and the producers are looking for his big comeback.   People do not live on the island due to the legends but the film crew need a guide and they find a teenager named Alon who is the only one willing to help them although he informs them right away that it would be best for all to leave the island since many of the legends are true and he doesn't want anyone to get hurt or possibly die so Alon feels their best chance of survival is if he stays on to help them.   Almost immediately some of the crew being to see visions and hear voices but they think it's their imagination induced by all the scary tales.   Before long many frightening events begin to occur  and again Alon pleads for them to leave the island before it's too late but to no avail.   By the time many of the crew decide to leave it will be too late for so many after they find out that this island is truly cursed and behind many legends lie unspeakable truths.

This was a wonderfully, creepy and atmospheric book written by Rin Chupeco.   The edgy and fast-moving story kept my attention with spooky things happening continuously chapter after chapter.   The creatures were uniquely well-done and  many that I haven't encountered before which was a lot of fun.   The story had many twists and turns and an impressive, unexpected turn and reveal at the last quarter of the book.   This story may have been written for young adults but I think it would be enjoyable for any reader who loves to read horror.   I am so glad I had the chance to read this book and I definitely recommend adding it to your reading lists.

I want to thank the publisher "Sourcebooks Fire" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this spooky island story and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!

I have given a rating of 4 HAUNTING AND SCREAMING 🌟🌟🌟🌟 STARS!!
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I was disappointed with this book.

The premise sounded right up my alley - I love suspense books featuring remote areas, they always seem so creepy.

What did not work for me here is the writing style.  The pace was just too slow. I could not stand it and kept checking how many pages were left - never a good sign.
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Jump scares, creepy imagery, lush greenery, traditional culture, mythology ... do I need to keep going!? The Sacrifice was such a FUN read with a beautiful setting and atmosphere. Oh, and it's just about impossible to put down.

Chupeco invites you to an island oasis that quickly turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one.

Is the story perfect? Nope. Would I recommend it? 100%!
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Unfortunately, I have been locked out of my netgalley account for a few months and was not able to see which books I had on my list or even know to check if they downloaded properly, in order to properly read and review.  I do apologize and am doing a 3 for neutral.  Will update once I’m able to obtain a copy and read!
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Author Rin Chupeco’s fiction has always had something of a darker tint to it. From more obvious horror stories like the Japanese ghost story The Girl From the Well and vampire tales like Silver Under Nightfall to their darkly magical The Bone Witch trilogy, these are not exactly stories for the faint of heart. And neither is Chupeco’s latest release, a disturbing story of survival and consequences called The Sacrifice that lands just in time for spooky season.

One of the best things about The Sacrifice is the way that Chupeco crafts a setting thick with tension and foreboding of both the physical and the emotional variety. From the jump scares caused by the trees that seem to move on their own and the soundless ghost figures that suddenly burst from nearby foliage, there are plenty of reasons to believe this island is haunted at best and downright dangerous at worst. Chupeco also deftly weaves various elements of Phillippine folklore and legend throughout the story, adding an uncomfortable element of realism to their spooky tale.

It’s said that if the dreamer god who sleeps beneath the island receives eight sacrifices that meet a series of specific parameters, he will bestow power and wealth on the giver. And this is, of course, part of the reason that so many people keep coming to Kisapmata, despite its dark history and uncomfortably high body count. Greed is a universal motivator throughout the ages, it appears. Horror that pokes at the uncomfortable dark underbelly of colonialism always works for me, and the use of these familiar tropes to examine the long-tale impact of the oppression of marginalized groups really works for me here.
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The concept of this tale is suitably creepy and should make for a great read with a cast of varied and interesting characters. But I was expecting something as vivid and deep as The Girl From the Well which is an absolute favourite of mine. I liked the main character in this novel but the time frame didn't give him space to develop any complex relationships such as in The Girl From the Well. I also think this tale didn't have the language and descriptions needed to make me feel fully immersed in the atmosphere and setting.

All of that aside, it is not a terrible read, three stars, enough to entice other readers who may enjoy this more than I did.

I received this arc from netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for my honest review.
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This was my first Rin Chupeco and I had a blast. The Sacrifice is the perfect mix of camp horror, actual graphic horror, and social commentary. The horror in this was layered well, and the horrific moments were truly horrific. I really liked how the book played with history,
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The island of Kisapmata is deadly! There is a curse of death, power and rebirth. There may be treasure to be discovered. The island is lush and beautiful but the local Filipinos refuse to come to the island. 
Hollywood has funded a group to come to the island to film a series of  the dangers and curse of the island.
Alon, a local fishing boy does come to the island and the Crew invites him to give them info regarding the terrors of the island. Despite his warning to leave before any  more lives are lost; the crew experiences danger. The see visions of  people they do not wish to see and a large sinkhole opens revealing a corpse entwined in the roots of underground tree. 
Lots of action and danger, evil rules the island!
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Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Fire, and Rin Chupeco for the opportunity to read The Sacrifice in exchange for an honest review.

Kisapmata would be the perfect island getaway, if it weren't for the supposed legendary curse killing people off. Explorers, such as Cortes, a whole plane crash, and a slew of missing people leaves the island with an air of legend that may just draw in horror-lovers. That is, those who make spooky TV shows for Hollywood.

Alon, a local island resident, is tasked with being a guide for a film crew making a spooky show about the island's legends and missing people, including the myth of the eight sacrifices to awaken the Diwata, the island's vengeful god. The film crew seeks any chance at a spooky moment for the camera, but when a massive sinkhole opens up revealing a tree with a corpse therein, the spook factor becomes a bit too real.

Unrelenting, the director takes the chance to use real footage to highlight the episodes of the show he is making, but Alon knows better. After seeing what is happening to the film crew after being exposed to the corpse tree and the island's curse, Alon makes every attempt to convince them to leave before it is too late and they succumb to the curse as well.

Alon also has a cute dog, Askal, which follows him around and is quite inquisitive and protective. Alon also finds themself drawn to one of the crew members son's, Chase--who is working through a recent breakup with a psycho cheater girlfriend,--giving a very slight romantic dynamic to this novel. (Alon is non-binary, by the way).

This book is a quick read, each chapter leaving an itch for more as the island's cure does its fun throughout the story. The first-person narrative is a nice touch, as Alon is already familiar with the working of the island and its curse, so they see the reactions of others with a grain of nonchalance. The spook factor of this novel is excellent. There's just something about carving hearts out for sacrificial needs and trees that come alive and seek an unknowing victim...

An excellent young adult thriller/horror!
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Thank you, NetGalley, SOURCEBOOKS Fire, Sourcebooks Fire, for the chance to read this book in exchange of an honest review.

The island of Kisapmata would be the perfect vacation destination, with its beaches, lush greenery, weather and waters...if not for the curse. The Philippines locals speak of it in hushed voices and refuse to go there, but an Hollywood film crew doesn't believe in any curse. Legend claims a Dreamer gods could grant powers in exchange of eight sacrifices and the crew wants to document any evidence it could find and they convince Alon, a local teen, to be their guide.

An island oasis turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one in this haunting novel from the highly acclaimed author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy.

 Hollywood film crew won't be dissuaded. Legend claims a Dreamer god sleeps, waiting to grant unimaginable powers in exchange for eight sacrifices. The producers are determined to document the evidence. And they convince Alon, a local teen, to be their guide. As soon as they arrive a sinkhole appears, revealing a tree with a mummified corpse in its branches. Between strange visions in the crew and mysteries around them, Alon is more than certain the curse is real, but none wants to leave. Who will survive? What will the Dreamer destroy?

In this haunting horror story, inspired by East Asian folklore, Rin Chupeco, already acclaimed author of The bone witch trilogy, write a eerie and suspenseful book, perfect for anytime, but mostly if you are in a mood for a good spooky one.
Hauntingly written, eerie, intense and so intriguing and interesting, this story is pretty amazing. Not only the setting is gorgeous, but mixed with legends and curses everything is even better. The characters are well written and I truly loved Alon, the mysteries and the whole journey. Totally recommended.
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