Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Title: The Dead House
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Mystery/Thriller
Release date: September 15th, 2015
Pages: 432 (eGalley)
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon Author 

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy - only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace... 

 ...until a diary is found hidden in the ruins. 

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn't exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly? 

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary. 

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

There's something very different about Carly and Kaitlin Johnson.  They're sisters, but their two souls share a body.  While Carly lives in the day, goes to school and makes friends, Kaitlin comes out at night, wanders around and watches others from afar.  After the death of their parents, they were sent to a psychiatric hospital for care.  Everyone told Carly that Kaitlin didn't exist until Kaitlin began to believe it herself.  They realize that if they're going to survive, they have to stick together...until one of the souls disappears.

I was on board with this story from the moment I read the description.  There are few things I love more than a horror that will make it hard for me to turn the lights out at night.  Unfortunately, The Dead House didn't live up to my expectations.  The way the author told the story in diary entries, police reports and video footage was incredibly unique, and I wanted to love it.  As creepy as some of the scenes were, the book didn't make me feel anything other than the fact that I was only reading to get it over with.

When Kaitlin begins to hear a voice she calls Aka Manah, she fears that she is beginning to go crazy.  The voice is sinister and constantly there, whispering things into her ear.  Then, for the first time in her life, Kaitlin wakes up in the morning.  Carly is gone.  The only way she'll be able to get her back is if she puts trust in Naida, Carly's best friend, who seems to know a little about what might be going on.

As the story progresses, the diary entries get a little more manic, and you're not sure whether there's truly something evil happening in Kaitlin's body or if she just has multiple personality disorder.  She's an unreliable narrator and that's what makes the story interesting.  The Dead House is crazier than you would imagine, but with every twist and dark reveal, I grew restless.  I seem to be one of the very few who didn't enjoy this book as much, though, so if you enjoy stories about unstable characters, mysterious occurrences, disappearances, black magic and lies, this one might be for you.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds SO cool and creepy. I'm sorry you didn't like it as much as you thought you would... that always stinks. I hate it when I'm just reading a book to get it done and not because I'm actually enjoying the story. I still want to try it bc I love books written in different formats (usually).