A captivating collection of spooky stories, Charlotte Prebble
March 18. 2022
Ghost Bus – Tales from Wellington’s Dark Side, written by Anna Kirtlan, is a collection of paranormal short stories set in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington (Te Whanganui-A-Tara). From homesick aliens to rude ghosts, bloodthirsty statues to plotting cats, the short stories have a variety of scary, spooky, and sinister paranormal characters. Most often, the stories feature popular landmarks or places around Wellington. Each short story in Ghostbus generally focuses on a different sculpture or iconic place that is part of Wellington’s culture. The short stories also often deal with or incorporate day to day problems that Wellingtonians either face or cause, or even sometimes both.
One of the things I like about Ghostbus was that it is set in our capital, which is somewhere that I have been a lot. This meant that I could easily picture all the scenes and scenarios that are described in the book. So much so, that next time that I am in the capital, I am probably going to spend half the time looking over my shoulder, just to make sure that there are no bloodthirsty statues trying to kill me, or ghosts spying on me from dark alleyways.
The only thing I didn’t like was that each story featured a different main character, but since it was all written from a first person point of view I found that it was hard to figure out. When I finished the first story and started reading the next one, I got a bit confused because I was still firmly planted in the last main character’s shoes.
That said, I really liked the side characters, and how they all had quirky personalities. For example, the statue of Katherine Mansfield which likes nothing more than to kill any seagulls that “shat” on her. Or the arrogant alien who spends all day looking down his nose at the human race. Not to mention the witches who make it their job to hex various people for entertainment. The characters are highly entertaining, and they make Ghostbus a fun and humorous read.
Overall, I loved the book. I found the story lines to be ingenious and captivating, and I found that it was hard to put down. The main moral that I personally took away from it is to be aware of your surroundings, and to treat them with the respect that they deserve. I would recommend this book to anyone who is in need of a quick read – so long as they can handle some slightly gory descriptions- but I especially recommend this book to any Wellingtonians out there.
- Charlotte is 14 and lives in Lower Hutt.