Welcome to the Dark House Review

Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

I'm somewhere in the middle with this book. Let's discuss why, shall we?


The Bad: The characters are difficult to follow for the first, oh, 75 pages or so. Every POV is in first person, and each chapter is from a different character's perspective. Certain details that would help in keeping track of who's who aren't revealed until after page ninety. The easiest folks to separate are Parker (because of his script-writing style) and Natalie (because she's one odd duck). Yet Parker's script sections are a bit annoying. I felt there was no reason for the book to suddenly become a teleplay. It added nothing to the narrative, and seemed to be a cop out when the author got tired of describing things within the narrative. I read books because I like books. Leave the script writing for the big screen and teledramas, please. 


One final note concerning the Bad: Some of the pop-culture references seemed antiquated considering these character are all eighteen year olds. Julia Child and Pretty in Pink are mentioned, along with the movie adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption. It seemed all these teens were stuck in the eighties, or further back, yet they all had cell phones, so that places them in relatively modern times. I don't know, man... it took me out of the story here and there, because it felt like author intrusion. And I should know, because I'm guilty of it in my own writing. 


The Biased: I hate purple prose that interrupts tense situations, and there's a scene toward the end, between Parker and Ivy, that made me laugh so hard I teared up. Here these two teenagers are, lives in danger, one bleeding profusely, and suddenly Ivy is gushing about how complete Parker makes her feel and how she wishes he wouldn't stop looking at her. I put this complaint in the Biased section because some of you might like this. I, however, found it sappy as hell and goofy as fuck. I really could have done without it, and I don't think it fit the book at all.


The Good: Well, just about everything else. Imagine The House on Haunted Hill as directed by Tim Burton (Scissorhands-era burton; not Planet-of-the-Apes Burton). There are numerous fun and creepy scenes herein, and I had a blast throughout 95% of this book. It's an easy read (probably took me all of 5 hours total to get through), and I can't say that I was ever even close to being bored. Once I got to know the characters, I grew attached to them. I felt fear when they were in danger, and sorrow when they died. They are a little cliched, but not in an insulting-stereotype kind of way. My favorite characters ended up being Garth Vader (yup, you read that right; that's his name) and Natalie. In my opinion, they were the stars of the show.


In summation: This is only the third YA novel I've read, and my first in the YA horror department, and, surprisingly enough, I didn't hate it. I had fun, which is all I really look for when reading. I think most of my friends would enjoy this one. I will definitely be looking for more from Laurie Faria Stolarz (Tom Cruise wept, that's a mouthful of a name) in the near future.