I was so excited to read this book. The cover looks super creepy and the summary gives you the impression that it’s going to be a truly terrifying novel, but it definitely fell short of my expectations. I was expecting my heart to be racing while I was reading Welcome to the Dead House and instead I had to pull myself through it.
Welcome to the Dead House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
What’s your worst nightmare?
For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.
And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.
Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.
Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.
By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.
(Summary from Goodreads)
I am so thankful that I read this book through an ARC tour because I would have been disappointed if I had bought it. From the summary, I thought Welcome to the Dark House was going to be a scary, thrilling novel. It was still a thriller because you didn’t know what was going to happen next, but it certainly didn’t have my heart racing.
The story is told in six different perspectives, which from the summary it seems like it may only be told from two, Ivy and Parker, but no all six winners are narrating. It often was pretty confusing as to who was narrating and I would have to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see, but the six different perspectives were also kind of necessary to the storyline. As for the six characters, I have mixed feelings for all of them. Some were jerks, others were so moody and depressing, and there was one I was really suspicious of. None of them really brought anything great to the story and there were two in particular who were constantly getting on my nerves by the middle of the book.
The storyline also went really quickly. I thought more time would have been spent in the amusement park since that is where all the big important events were happening, but I felt like the author spent way too much time going over their first night at the house. I did get pretty good visuals in my head while I was reading because the writer did a great job describing everything. She also leaves the end open to what could be a sequel (or perhaps it will be a trilogy). The epilogue confused me big time, but if there is no sequel I will be really disappointed. So many questions were left unanswered and if there will be a sequel, I might give Welcome to the Dark House a 4 star rating instead of 3 only because then this book would be more interesting as it is setting up events for a sequel (if that makes sense).
I feel like I am once again only complaining about this book, but there were some things I did enjoy. I thought the idea of the story was great. Instantly it reminded me of a horror movie I watched where a group of friends goes to a haunted house called, The House of Fears, and it focuses on people’s biggest fears (clowns, buried alive, drowning, ect.). I thought the movie was great and this in a way was very similar. It also reminded me a bit like the horror movie Prom Night. I can’t go into too much detail about the similarities between them though without giving away some spoilers. I also finished the book in only one day, although I was more or less getting through it hoping it would get better. If you enjoyed or watched those one or both of those movies, I’d recommend reading Welcome to the Dark House. It does have a pretty good rating on Goodreads as well, 3.80 stars. If you have read it, did you enjoy it or did it have you scared? If you haven’t read it, please don’t let my review turn you away from it. Give it a try because everyone has a different opinion.