Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Title:Welcome to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Series: Dark House #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date:July 22nd, 2014
Pages: Hardback, 368 Pages
Source: ALA Midwinter

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

What I liked

- The mood.  Throughout the entire story I felt stressed and scared for the characters.  The knot you sometimes get in your stomach when you think something bad is going to happen, well that feeling pretty much just stays with you through the entire book.

-The horror.  Both the nightmares and the events that transpired were definitely scary.  That being said, this is not a book I would recommend to individuals who dislike scary movies and horror movies.  Welcome to the Dark House has its fair share of horror.  It might leave you wanting to keep the lights on at night when you finish it. 

-The characters.  While I did have some issues with the characters, I did feel like the individual nightmares each character faced was unique and well suited to their personalities.  Certain characters were very well rounded and well developed, I could just sense their unease through the story. 

What I did not like

- The ending.  When I watch scary movies I always look forward to the ending, the satisfying some how explanatory ending.When I do not get some conclusion in a scary movie I feel like it sticks with me more, in a creepy haunting way.  This book just left me hanging, I felt like I just needed more, I am happy to see that it is a series so I can eventually get some resolution!
-The multiple POVs.  90% of the time I absolutely love multiple POVs, this time it just did not work for me.  There were 6 narrators, each with their own background story and their own nightmare.  Conceptually I thought it was a good idea, I just found that some characters did not have enough of a distinctive voice that it was easy to get confused.  I would have to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to confirm who was the narrator.

Bottom Line

If you a creepy and scary horror book that might just give you nightmares, Welcome to the Dark House is the book for you!  The multiple narrators had to face their nightmares and hope they could make it out alive; one character has a nightmare all her own that haunts and will continue to into book two.

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