Title: The House that Fell from the Sky
Author: Patrick Delaney
Edition: Paperback ARC – Out on September 1st, 2020
Page Count: 528 pages
Rating: 3 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
What a book! I took one look at this cover and immediately wanted to add it to my collection. I hadn’t read anything else before by the author, but I’m very grateful to him, as well as to the publisher & the Night Worms organizers, for sending this one over to do a #nightwormsbookparty!
The idea behind this one is pretty simple: a mysterious, dark, spooky, Gothic-type mansion pops up in the middle of a city one night out of thin air. Nobody knows why it’s there, where it came from, or what to do with it – only that something’s not quite right due to some really disturbing things that start happening. Eventually, a corporation starts a Willy Wonka-esque contest to find a few folks to enter the house – as expected, lots of wild things ensue!
Our cast of characters is pretty varied, including a horror booktuber at the end of her personal rope, a former MLB player, a bartender, and a few others. While we get quite a lot of detail on these characters through flashbacks, descriptions, and conversations, I felt that they could have been fleshed out a bit more thoroughly. As other reviewers have mentioned, the age range was a bit tough to believe here – I honestly had forgotten that the characters were supposed to be in their late 20s, and spent the entire time reading thinking they were in their teens. This isn’t to say that they are poorly written – just that the intended age range missed the mark slightly, and a tiny bit of editing to make them slightly younger in the story might make things a little more consistent from the reader’s experience.
I enjoyed the relationships between characters – as someone with brothers, I related to some of the jabs and loving conversational bits to the dialogue between Scarlett and her brother, Tommy. While there were a couple times part of the chatter felt a bit forced between people, the bonds seemed to shine through for me creating high stakes regarding the personal safety of each person in the story.
One mention is that I really wish we’d gotten into the house a little bit sooner than we do, because I read a couple hundred pages and kept wondering if it was around the corner (spoiler: it wasn’t). Rather than build tension for me, this sort of just started making me want to rush past the stuff that didn’t really seem to have anything to do with the actual plot. Mentions of character’s appearances were a bit repetitive, and I could’ve done without certain bits that felt a little more like trimmable bulk than necessary weight.
Something the author absolutely excels at is the ability to describe things in such a way that the reader is able to envision it perfectly – I felt like I were walking through the house at times, peeking over shoulders into the rooms and marveling at the absolutely horrifying happenings that were witnessed. Although this is a haunted house story that doesn’t follow a directly linear path, I didn’t find myself struggling to keep up, or to understand what was going on in the story; I will admit that there was this almost bizarro-esque, otherwordly feel to some of the parts and things inside the house that definitely caused me to raise my eyebrows (not in a bad way!).
Overall, this is one to check out if you’re a fan of the haunted house trope and want a very unique spin on it – specifically, if you’re looking to sink a chunk of time to invest in backstory and build-up, love absolutely horrifying creatures and situations, and love lots of descriptions. If you’re more of a fan of quick, immediate horror without a lot of exposition that’s easy to tidily wrap up with a bow at the end of the book, this may not be the one for you – but don’t take my word for it! Check it out for yourself, it’s out this September!
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