Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: The Dead House by Dawn

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I received this book for free from Little Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Dead House by DawnThe Dead House Published by Little Brown BfYR on September 15, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, YA
Source: Little Brown and Company
Buy on Amazon

Three students: dead.
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, "the girl of nowhere."

Kaitlyn's diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn't exist, and in a way, she doesn't - because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It's during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary - and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds.

Disclaimer: this wasn’t a scary book. When we say ‘scary’, that’s something I would give to the likes of Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics and Girl from the Well + The Suffering by Rin Chupeco. This wasn’t even a mind-fuck of a book a la Dangerous Girls

However, that doesn’t mean my mind didn’t reel from it. Even though this didn’t have the quiet or the jumpy horror I am well fond of, how this book delivered a kickass psychological paranormal thriller made me shiver in my boots.

1. Unreliable narrator? Check.
2. A book majorly in a dairy format, showing us the thought processes of our heroine, therefore giving us an intense sneak peek of the insanity of the situation? Check.
3. Notes, transcription of videos, medical reports, letting us also see other sides of the story, that may or may not be challenging the authenticity of the narrator’s end of events? Double check.

This is what made this book amazing to me – the fact that we are seeing one side of the story from one person, and at the same time, we get to see another side of the story from other sources, and how they pretty collide in our own minds. Yes, in the grander scheme of things, the thriller aspect here was kind of predictable, but at the same time, the journey to getting there was incredible. This is the kind of book that allows the reader to interpret the flow of events, the form their own conclusions based on what they have read and what evidences have been presented. It never confirms or denies anything – it’s simply a cast of characters talking about their own side of a particularly messy situation.

And that my friends, is its beauty. Because even though it is one, a little predictable, and two, not-so-scary in a DEMON! GHOSTS! MURDERER ON THE LOOSE! kind of way, how we were able to get the story made it exciting and thrilling. It would make you wonder who is telling the truth: is it the girl and her friends and the doctor is just blinded by her own bias? Or is the doctor and her team of specialists and our friends are simply stuck in their own out-of-this-world delusion?

How about you read this book, my friends, and tell me what you think?


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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7 Responses to “Review: The Dead House by Dawn”

  1. czai

    never really bothered to check this book out until now and you just made me want to have it right now! I like how it has an unreliable narrator and how it uses a diary and how it involves notes, medical reports, etc… okay, so I seem to like everything about this book… I really MUST have this now!!

  2. Pili @ In Love With Handmade

    Since I’m a wuss really scary books are not exactly my thing but books with unreliable narrators and interesting formats that make you wonder and have your lil brain ticking till the end, those are more my kind of thing, so I think this is definitely a Pili book!
    Great review Faye!