Review: Campfire by Shawn Sarles

“They say that stories told under a full moon come true,” Caleb said.

“Sounds like an old superstition to me.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” A gleam sparked in Caleb’s so-blue eyes and a chill ran up Maddie’s spine.  The mood felt suddenly dangerous.  But also alive.
“Have you ever heard the one about the Red Raven, a demon-eyed soul-killer…”

I pre-ordered Campfire a couple of months ago, as the blurb sold a story that sounded exciting. Campfire is about a family camping trip that goes horribly wrong after a couple of campfire stories are told.  Past and present arcs contribute to the establishment of a multi-layered plot, that is full of mystery and suspicion.


The book definitely delivered the tone, the plot and the characters I subconsciously expected it too.  However, I found the first half of the book’s pace to be quite frustrating.  The “action” of the plot didn’t pick up until chapter 18, where it becomes a real page turner.  Before this, the previous chapters help construct the start of a faster pace.  Nonetheless, days after finishing the book, I’m still at the conclusion the latter part of the story being great, doesn’t make up for the sloth-like pace of the first half.

I found Campfire to be an easy read, which is definitely suitable for YA reading (there’s mild cursing).  It had short chapters, enabling me to finish it within three days.  The central character, Maddie, was likeable. Enough to empathise with her misfortunes, and hoping she survived (and her best friend).

Something I’d like to praise Sarles for, is the use of realistic dialogue throughout the book.  There’s nothing worse than reading a book with a great plot, but characters dialogue reads jagged.  As well, Sarles certainly took no prisoners, which amplified the imminence of danger.

The ending of the book was partially predictable.  I read a book expecting something to blow me out of the water, and to partially-predict the ending, is quite disappointing.  Yet, overall, Campfire was an enjoyable read.  Once I finished the book, it became apparent how much thought Sarles put into constructing characters and plot.

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads because I wish the first half of the book was more fast-paced, there were some print errors (double printed words), and due to the partially predictable ending. Other than that, it’s a fun read.

Buy it now

Campfire by Shawn Sarles
Published 17th July 2018
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Thriller




Thanks for reading!


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