The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco. Sourcebooks, 2022. 9781728255910 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: ARC Paperback

Genre: Horror

What did you like about the book? Kisapmata. A beautiful island in the Philippines full of legend, danger, horrors. The natives refuse to talk about it, and they definitely won’t go near it. But that doesn’t stop a Hollywood crew from setting up film equipment on the paradisal island. Hoping to create the next big hit, the crew’s goal is to film the island’s mysterious legends, especially the one about a sleeping god who needs eight sacrifices to awaken. The one native who decides to accompany the crew is Alon, a nonbinary eighteen-year-old Filipino who harbors more secrets than they let on. Told from their perspective, Alon watches as the Hollywood crew stumbles deeper into hostile territory, uncovering ancient lore meant to be hidden. When a sinkhole appears in the middle of the camp, revealing a twisted corpse entwined with a balete tree, the true horror of the island finally reveals itself. Can the crew escape the wrath of an ancient god, or have they already sealed their fates? Only Alon knows. 

The Sacrifice is a chilling horror novel, set against the backdrop of Filipino lore and legends. Alon is a secretive protagonist, not necessarily lying to the audience, but obviously hiding crucial information, both from the Hollywood crew and from the readers. It’s an interesting perspective, because you see the money-focused Westerners’ true natures emerge as they slowly begin to understand the great danger they face. Alon develops different relationships with each crew member, especially with another teenager, who develops feelings for Alon. Rin Chupeco’s newest story is as terrifying as it is riveting, and you will not put the book down until you know each character’s fate. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Anyone who likes supernatural horror, and secretive narrators. It is similar to the adult book Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, but set in the Philippines and for teenagers, or any horror movie where the investigative TV crew gets more than what they’ve bargained for (see Grave Encounters, 2011).

Who should buy this book? High schools and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Teen fiction/teen horror

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Laila Carter, Boston Arts Academy, Dorchester MA

Date of review: May 9th, 2022

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