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on 31 May 2007
There aren't many really great ghost stories that are genuinely scary enough to keep both adults and young people interested but this is certainly one. The lurking atmosphere builds in intensity towards the climax so effectively that I really feared for Jack. There's also a wonderful creation in this book - the Nightmare Passage. I've never read anything quite like it. An almost perfect story - but it IS scary, and it's not just childish thrills either.
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on 24 June 2014
'Breathe' is a pretty good ghost story, not the best I've read by any means and in parts is a bit silly but readable non the less.
It seems to me that writing a ghost story must be quite difficult because in my experience there are few that are any good and a rarity to find a really excellent one.
This one isn't excellent in my opinion but is fairly enjoyable and I don't regret buying it. xx
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on 13 November 2016
In this day and age it is difficult to write a truly good ghost story but this is an exception. Brilliantly written it fits the bill perfectly. Both adults and children of a certain age would enjoy this.
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on 15 July 2006
I have always liked Cliff McNish's books for the pure imagination he puts into all his books. The Doomspell which was his first book was an exciting, interesting and extremely enjoyable read which was mirrored in the other two books in the Doomspell trilogy. I can honestly say I have never read a book with such pure imaginary genius such as his writing.

The Silver Sequence followed which again was another trilogy and I believe an even more exciting and interesting series.

Now Breathe has arrived, not part of a trilogy and Cliff's first ghost novel. If you take a stroll through you the children's section of your local bookshop you'll hardly be able to find a real ghost novel. So it is with great brilliance that an author has finally written one but that they have written one with such spookyness and can fulfill the title of a true ghost story. Unlike other books, Breathe isn't filled with blood, gore and evil monsters but with a believable spooky touch that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Suitable for adults, teenagers and young children this book will provide anyone with a true ghost novel.

Buy it now!
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on 4 January 2010
A well-written and suspenseful ghost story, Breathe is the story of Jack, an adolescent who moves into an old farmhouse with his mother following the death of his father. Jack has a gift: he picks up impressions of a house's former, dead inhabitants through the furnishings and physical environment that they previously occupied. He also has a curse: severe asthma.

It proves grimly ironic that Jack's mum, in trying to find a home where she and Jack can make a new start following their bereavement, has lighted upon an establishment tenanted by five ghosts - four children and, the object of their terror, the Ghost Mother. Elated at finding the house tenanted by a real, living child, she is determined to make Jack accept her as his mother, by whatever means of persuasion, trickery or coercion she can muster.

Meanwhile, one of the ghost children manages to warn Jack of the Ghost Mother's true nature, while they themselves are horribly forced to sustain her earthly presence until they are claimed, one by one, by the terrifying Nightmare Passage.

Though this was generally an engaging and evocative tale, the concluding scene, when Jack attempts the challenge of using his gift to liberate those who have gone to the Nightmare Passage, seemed disappointingly rushed and left me with the distinct impression that the author had suddenly arrived at a premature deadline. But overall, this is a compelling and imaginative work and the passages detailing Jack's asthma attacks come across as well-researched and almost as alarming as the book's more supernatural terrors.
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on 11 March 2013
The story wasn't like I expected but I found that is so great and chilling. While I was reading the story, I could live with the characters and experince their fear. I just adore the book :-).
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on 25 June 2012
This is my very first novel that I have read and Ive got to admit, i am very impressed, it wasnt as scarey what i thought it was going to be from what I read on the reviews, but it is very interesting, in every chapter theres a secret that has been told to the reader, I highly recommend this book to any of any age! :D
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on 1 July 2009
Cliff McNish is an underrated children's author. His imagination is immense, which you can really see within this book. However, the book is not his best.

'Breathe' is a corageous book that looks at the effects of death and illness from an interesting angle. If you are an adult who enjoys reading childrens books I would perhaps recommend some of his other books over this one, such as Doomspell or The Silver World series.

Cliff McNish is always worth reading because he is so different from any other writer that I have read and he is brave in the risks that he takes.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 1 August 2013
This is a wonderful ghost story; a tale which draws the reader in, and lures them on a chase through haunting and spirit worlds. A young boy and his mother, seeking a new start, move to a house where the spirits of children, unable to move on wait for them. But is there a more sinister presence there too? And what can Jack do to save the souls of those left behind?

While written for a younger audience than me (*cough cough*) I always appreciate a good story; and a good ghost story especially. Totally recommended; and would be a great read for anyone of any age looking for a light yet spooky tale.
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on 21 May 2007
Coming after the magnificent Doomspell Trilogy, this ghost story left me feeling deflated. It's still an okay readable story, but it's really missing the energy and vitality of his earlier books. So, alright, it's a ghost story, and it's not supposed to be "real" but I really found this a lot more unbelievable than the far more far-fetched fantasy Doomspell books. I think the real problem with it for me is that it's half-grounded in a "real" world of normal everyday people and the "ghost" story just doesn't seem to fit with the story of a young boy and his mum coming to terms with the recent death of the boy's dad.

The story begins promisingly by introducing the ghosts - four children's spirits of different ages trapped in an old farmhouse and hoping that the next occupier of the house will bring with them a child to watch and maybe play with. There are two boys and two girls and the boys hopes are realised when they see 12 year old Jack approach the house with his mum. Jack's dad has recently died and his mum has brought him to the house because he loves old houses, and old things around him. As soon as he arrives he runs his hands around everything in the house and picks up vibes, feelings and images from the objects, about the people that have been in the house before them. He discovers abilities he never knew he had when he "senses" details about the old lady who died in the house before they moved in. Gradually, Jack begins to sense other spirits in the house; first an adult (the strongest feeling) and then slowly he senses impressions of children as well. But something is not quite right. There is animosity between the ghosts... and Jack isn't quite sure who to believe and trust. Can he work it out, and keep his severe asthma attacks under control as well?

I found the story starts to lack substance about half way through and then doesn't really pick up again after that. The plot gets a bit repetitive, and then picks up again slightly towards the end. It's readable, but not McNish at his best.
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