Thursday, January 16, 2020

REVIEW: Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House, #1)
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.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as I picked it up without rereading the synopsis, but I did end up liking this book and found myself intrigued by the thriller elements.

When Ivy was twelve a man murdered her parents and now she has nightmares about the man coming for her. So when she receives an email from The Nightmare Elf, a horror movie franchise, promising to get rid of nightmares, Ivy is intrigued. All she has to do is write an essay about her nightmare and enter it into the contest. Winners get treated to a trip in a Nightmare Elf cabin and meet the famous director, but Ivy does not care about that. When she wins she is surprised, but she, along with six other teens, come together and find that there is more to the contest than meets the eye.

This book follows multiple POVs. I do think following all the different perspectives worked in this book because it allowed up to see their fears from their perspectives and follow them into their fears. I struggled with the characters at first because many of them seemed stereotyped, but as the book progressed we start to see who they really are and what they struggle. There were some characters that I still didn't fully connect to, such as Parker (who is supposed to be Ivy's love interest). While there are many perspectives, Ivy is supposed to be the focus of the book. I didn't quite understand why Ivy entered the contest. The email says that they will take away your fears, but why did Ivy think that would work? She seemed smart, and she absolutely hates horror movies, why would she enter a contest from a spam email from a franchise she doesn't care for? It just seemed odd to me.

Despite my disbelief in why Ivy would enter the contest, the concept of the contest is very interesting. I was intrigued by the horror elements and once the characters just to the house, I did not want to put the book down. The settings are perfectly creepy. We have the classic horror house, which is based on the film the contest is for. This was interesting because most of the winners (with the exception of Ivy) love horror movies and see the house as pretend. It takes them a while to realize that something more might be going on. The other main setting is the theme park which was an absolutely fantastic setting! I have an odd interest in theme parks and theme park history (even though I don't like actually traveling to theme parks), so I found how the theme park was incorporated into the book really interesting. The park is so well-themed and I just kept thinking how much work must have been put into this park and how insane the person behind this has to be to do this much work to [highlight to view spoiler]maybe murder seven people? I guess I'll learn more about the motives in book two! [end of spoiler]. The park is absolutely terrifying, but the idea behind maybe rides based on the fears of others is really interesting. Sure, some thriller aspects of the book were predictable, but I still found myself invested in this story!

Now, as for romance, I just didn't care for it. To be honest, I am very picky about romance in books because it is very difficult to get right and most of the time I think a book could do without romance. This book did not need romance. The romance happens too quickly for me to believe it and Parker is such a flat character. He's an aspiring filmmaker and that's really all we know about him [highlight to view spoiler]besides that he lied on his contest entry, making up his nightmare in hopes that he could meet Justin Blake [end of spoiler].

Overall, while this book has some cliche moments, I still found the thriller elements riveting. I couldn't help but keep reading! The book ends kind of in the middle of things, which was strange, and I was left with a lot of unanswered questions. I do own the next book so I will be continuing the series.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

1 comment :

  1. This is one of my favorite thriller books. I've re-read it about a hundred times, but I have yet to read the second one yet.

    Ash@ JennReneeRead