Keep the Lights On | Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Friday, October 27, 2017

Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: 7/21/15
Pages: 368
Source: publisher in exchange for honest review

Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

After Ivy escapes the Dark House, she can’t shake what happened there. The broken promise of returning to rescue Parker and leaving him behind haunts her still. The police have no new leads and Ivy decides to take the case into her own hands. The killer always vowed she would return for the sequel and he was right.  

It is rare for sequels to go above and beyond the first. However, Return to the Dark House kicks it up a notch with new scenery, new scares, and a bigger climax than the first. 

The biggest change between the two books is the lack of perspective changes with each chapter. In Welcome to the Dark House, it follows a new characters’ perspective each chapter—getting inside the head’s of, at least, six characters. This makes for a difficult read as readers are constantly confused as to which character is which. In Return to the Dark House, readers will have no such problem. Yes, there is a bit of perspective change but not to the degree as the first book. 

Lauria Faria Stolarz continues Ivy’s story in this sequel which tops the first. The writing is fantastic; it definitely keeps readers on the edges of their seats.  Whereas in Welcome to the Dark House Stolarz recycled classic horror clichés, the sequel is fresh. Also, Stolarz creates an elaborate layered plot, leaving readers to fall deeper into the story.

Reading the first book in the Dark House duology, I didn’t feel as connected to Ivy. Her story was unrelatable. Having a cast of seven main characters (in Welcome to the Dark House), it was difficult to focus on one or the other. In the sequel, however, Ivy quickly becomes everyone’s favorite protagonist. In her desire to rescue Parker and the others, readers will easily be drawn to her bravery and loyalty. 

Return to the Dark House is incredibly entertaining, filled with twists and turns which will keep you guessing until the very end. Laurie Faria Stolarz created an amazing sequel which will definitely keep you up at night. Just remember to keep the lights on.

Welcome to the Dark House (7/22/14): 3 stars
Return to the Dark House (7/21/15): 4 stars

You Might Also Like