Thursday, October 30, 2014

Locked In: Welcome to the Dark House Review

This post is part of my blogtober celebration, my month-long blog party about all things creepy and Halloween-y! Don't forget I've got a ton of giveaways going on!

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 368
Keywords: horror, mystery, murder
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
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.
I'm first going to make a disclaimer that I really tried to ignore while I read the book. My eARC was formatted super incorrectly, and I realized the book is being told from all the characters' points of views, and that in the actual book, the typefaces change with the narrator. The eARC did no such thing. The voices were all really similar, and it was supremely difficult for me to differentiate between the characters.

That being said, I really liked the idea behind this. A movie star's contest to share nightmares, and then the winners get to see the set and live in his world, where there's all kinds of creepy stuff going on. I liked not knowing what was going to happen and how nothing was really answered straightaway for a while, so it kept me guessing a little bit.

Even with that plot that was fun, it all felt a bit cliche and boring, and I didn't feel like any of the characters stood out or went anywhere as people. They all felt static and boring, and I wanted there to be something more from them. Everyone had a distinct trait, and that was pretty much all that defined them, and they didn't feel particularly complex.

This was pretty much like a horror movie: The premise is good and it's suspenseful, but the characters are only so-so and the story will only go so far, and really, there's pretty much only one way it can end. Wasn't my favorite read of the season, but it wasn't the worst.

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