Thrills and Chills | Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: 7/22/14
Pages: 357
Source: publisher in exchange for honest review

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.

Seven people entered an essay contest for the chance to win a behind-the-scenes look at Justin Blake’s new horror film. Die-hard fans, film fanatics, and wannabe actresses were among the people who entered. Seven people won a once in a lifetime opportunity. Justin Blake is best-known for his horror series which includes an elf who steals nightmares to make them become reality. After the seven winners check in to the Dark House—an exact-replica of the house shown in the film—things start getting weird. Cell service is nowhere to be found. Lights continue to flicker on and off. Warnings are drawn on walls where you least expect it. Not to mention, someone is already missing. The winners will soon realize this weekend isn’t about meeting a famous director. It is more about surviving the weekend than anything else.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is back! Her writing is always superb, no matter what genre she is tackling. Fans of her work will be sure to love this new series. Stolarz works her writing magic to bring you a story which will leave you on the edge of your seat. 

The horror genre is constantly reusing old scare tactics. When you read a horror book or watch a horror film, a person will most likely disappear, the lights will flicker on and off, the phones will be dead, someone will die, and the list goes on. These horror clichés work. Even though Stolarz used some of these clichés, that does not mean they were any less effective. Welcome to the Dark House is filled with scares, so much so you may have nightmares.

The plot itself was good. With the enormous amount of characters to remember, it was difficult to stay on one plot line however. The story didn’t pick up until the halfway point, at least. The Dark House served as a backdrop to some of the smaller scares which occurred earlier in the novel. The plot becomes juicier when the characters are inside the theme park of their own nightmares.

 movie film horror the conjuring lili taylor GIF

This cast of characters is one of the most wackiest I have ever come across. I have read lots of books but never once before come across a character like Garth Vader (you heard that right). 

There are six main characters, and Stolarz changes perspective every chapter. Yes, changing perspective with a cast of six characters makes for some confusing scenes. While reading, I noted how to differentiate each character through which nightmare they had or what their family was like. The changing perspective came as to no surprise as Stolarz has done so in almost every novel she has written. Bleed is another novel of hers which she changes perspective among a large cast of characters. It is an interesting storytelling technique which, at times, forces the readers to flip back to follow which character is which.

Welcome to the Dark House is the first in a series which will have readers begging for more. Stolarz definitely knows how to weave a fantastic cliff-hanger. Despite a bit confusion at the characters’ perspectives, readers will, not only, feel the need to marathon all her other books (starting with Project 17, which is also a horror novel) but also immediately need to pick up the sequel, Return to the Dark House. Welcome to the Dark House is filled with thrills and chills of all kinds which will keep you up at night.

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

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  1. OOh nice! I STILL need to read this series! I'm actually rather behind on Laurie's books! I discovered her eons ago with her Blue is for Nightmares series. Back then I didn't know how to learn when authors have new books out, so yeah, I'm way behind! LOL! Glad to hear that this one was creepy and thrilling! Great review!