Book Review: Dark Waters (Small Spaces #3)

Howdy Bookworms,

Sorry for the intense delay in any new blogging content. I’ve been super busy with grad school, but I promise you I’m not dead! I won’t waste any time telling you about the overwhelming amount of reading and assignments I’ve been doing, so let’s get right on with the meat and potatoes of this post, another book review!

This time I read Dark Water by Katherine Arden, the third book in her Small Spaces series.

This is a buddy read with my fabulous book buddy Iseult Murphy, who also has some chilling work of her own for you to check out right here.

When she reached out to me about reading this book, I jumped on the opportunity and luckily my library had a brand new copy.

Lucky me!


This post will be my individual review of the book, soon to be followed by our buddy read and rant. So far I’ve enjoyed books 1 and 2, so how did this one shape up? Keep on reading to find out!



Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he’ll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they’ve steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie’s dad and Coco’s mom plan a “fun” boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven’t had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn’t just any island though. It’s hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won’t survive long.



***Brief disclosure***

I am an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post. It’s a great way to help me keep things running on my blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase. 


The Review

This was probably my least favorite of the books in this series to date, but I did have a mildly entertaining time.

Continuing from the previous book, Coco, Ollie, and Brian have spent the winter shacking up with each other and staying close to crowds to be safe. But when they go on a weekend trip to a nearby lake, their worlds are once again turned upside down and they become stranded in a strange place. Can they make it out unscathed, or has the Smiling Man finally won his war against them?

This book had a lot of promise, but fell short in a few ways that disappointed me. Despite all the details I’m about to give, I’m still determined to read this series through to the end (there’s one more book coming).

Coco, Ollie, and Brian have been through a lot together. As characters, they didn’t really progress all that much this time, but we do get an additional character to their team, Phil. He’s a kid that was on the bus from their fall adventure in the first book. I like what Phil added to the plate, and that things weren’t as simple as our three protagonists initially thought.

That being said, this book’s POV felt unbalanced. Brian takes center stage as the main POV, but there are moments of Coco in there. This creates a bit of confusion and could’ve been handled a bit better. Why not simply do separate chapters for each character? Also, Ollie was something of a wallflower this time, which seemed odd given how this series started out in her perspective. In the second book, Brian was absent through a good portion of it (that didn’t work for me either), so I’m seeing something of a pattern that just doesn’t work for me without believable explanation.

The plot as always drew me in. I knew this little lake incursion wasn’t going to end well, so I was hoping for some light chills and thrills. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really too many of those along the way this time, at least not what we are used to. There is something hunting them where they are stranded, and while that’s creepy it’s not necessarily supernatural. Also, the Smiling Man doesn’t really make a direct appearance, which seemed a bit odd. It was still fun to follow along our protagonists’ adventure, but there was just something lacking here.

I will say, I did enjoy the ending immensely, as it gives us more of a cliffhanger and sets the stage for the next book, but other elements could’ve been handled better.

Looking forward to trying out the last book once it’s out!


That’s A Wrap!

Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!

Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!

Have a great day!


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