Bet you weren't expecting any literary reviews from me any time soon, huh? Well, neither was I. Until I received a free copy of the ebook, "The Doll", by J.C. Martin for my participation in REN3. Seeing as I just finally got around to reading it, I figured I owed the dear author a review.
"The Doll" is a short story that revolves around the very real "Island of the Dolls" in Mexico. On the island are hundred upon hundreds of dolls. Everywhere. Strung up on the trees, strewn across the ground, everywhere. The island is littered with them. Most of the dolls are old and weathered and broken, looking almost decayed. The island gives off the feeling of constantly being watched.
The story goes that a young girl drowned in one of the surrounding canals, and that a man named Don Julian Santana, who felt he was being haunted by the girl's spirit, moved to the island and built it up as a shrine of dolls in order to appease her.
Martin's story centers around a woman named Joyce, who, on her vacation in Mexico with her young daughter, Taylor, tours the Island of the Dolls. While there, Joyce is given a grave warning by the tour guide: Don't touch the dolls.
While she believes she adheres to this warning, she eventually finds out that her daughter managed to snag one of them. Unfortunately, she finds this out after her daughter starts seeing the spirits associated with death and crossroads, and oh...the spirit of the dead little girl.
Terrified that the doll will lead to her daughter's death--as an arrogant and rather obese tourist who scoffed at the warning has already died--Joyce rushes back to Mexico to return the doll to its place (its place being the center of a special alter for the dolls, where very black magic was performed).
Unfortunately for Joyce, and despite her best intentions, the spirit of the little girl doesn't seem to want to let her go...
And poor Joyce ends up staying on the Island of the Dolls a lot longer than she intended to.
Overall, "The Doll" comes off as a well-paced, well-written, and very creepy short story that will leave you with quite a few chills. While J.C. Martin's writing isn't perfect, it keeps your attention throughout, presenting facets of everyday life that cause the real and the paranormal to blend together until they are indistinguishable. And beyond that, even when you've finished the story, you're left with a lingering sense of creepiness and a mass of terrifying implications to consider.
If you have dolls lying around your house, I would highly recommend you put them out of sight before reading this.
But seriously, read this.
Overall Grade: A-
Overall Grade: A-
"The Doll" by J.C. Martin
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