“They think I don't exist . . . they think I'm like a disease. I'm infecting Carly.”
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.
When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner's family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.
When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn't right on the prairie. She's heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can't be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.
"I curse anyone who reads this book."
I have a love-hate relationship with novels that tell you the outcome first, and only after share with you how exactly it happened, so it's safe to say that I was afraid of The Dead House. Thankfully, I had nothing to fear. From the very first moment I opened this book I was glued to the pages and the story stayed with me long after I closed the book.
The story is mostly told through Kaitlyn's diary entries but there are also plenty of medical reports, footage and interview transcripts. The latter three helped some in figuring out what is real and what is not because Kaitlyn is one of the most unreliable narrators ever. However, her narrative worked for this novel perfectly - it made it even more mysterious and intriguing.
I can't say much about the characters without spoiling something, but I can tell you that they were all perfectly crafted and very relatable. There was just a touch of romance and I think it made the story all the more enjoyable.
All in all, The Dead House is the book you should pick up if you want to read a horror novel that isn't too scary, rather mysterious, emotional and very, very complex.
The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 5/5
The characters: 5/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 5/5
The characters grew on me even though I still found myself questioning their choices and feelings. After the family arrived to their "new" house I became fully engaged with the story and was really excited to see what was yet to come. And, boy, so many things were about to happen that I did not expect. However, what I loved about Daughter Unto Devils the most was that it had some truly scary parts and an edge-of-your-seat build up to its brilliant ending.
Overall, this novel was the perfect Halloween read - scary, intriguing and hard to put down. Definitely recommended for fans of horror.
The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 4/5
The characters: 3/5
The cover: 4.5/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5