Book Review: The House That Fell From the Sky
“We are pleased to inform you that you are cordially invited to participate in this year’s fabulous event, where if selected, you will be given the chance to spend one night in the world’s most haunted house, a place previously off-limits to the public”The Crow Corporation
Now this is how you do an original take on the haunted house genre! Sure, it borrows tropes and imagery from other books and movies, but not in a bad way. It’s more of an homage to those that came before, while also carving out a unique niche of its own. I got the chance to read an advanced copy of The House That Fell From the Sky (thank you to Patrick Delaney for personally sending it!) and I absolutely loved this nightmare scape of a book.
SUMMARY: When twenty-nine-year-old Scarlett Vantassel comes to the conclusion that her life doesn’t resemble any of the things she actually wanted for herself, she drops out of school and moves back home, attempting to reconnect with the people she left behind. But a shadow falls over her return one early October morning when a sinister house miraculously appears in the center of the city, sparking a media frenzy that attracts attention nationwide.
Soon after the newspapers label it, “The House that Fell from the Sky,” Scarlett’s childhood friend Hannah becomes obsessed with the idea that the house holds the key to discovering whether there really is life after death. Undeterred by her friends’ numerous warnings, Hannah becomes increasingly consumed with the desire to enter the house, convinced it would allow her to reconnect with her recently deceased mother.
Despite a series of escalating events suggesting that the house may be more dangerous than anyone ever thought possible, a privately owned company seizes control of the property and hosts a lottery to lure the city’s residents, promising the winners a large cash reward if they dare to enter the house.
To Scarlett’s horror, Hannah uses her vast wealth to secure a spot among the winners to gain access to the house. Now, it’s up to Scarlett, her older brother Tommy, and her friend Jackson to face their fears and journey into a place where nothing is ever quite as it seems, and decide if they can help a friend in need, or if Hannah truly is lost.
The best way to approach this book is by knowing as little as possible going into it. That’s what I did and it was an amazing experience! Just the premise of a giant house suddenly appearing in the middle of nowhere had me hooked, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was inside. The book is somewhat of a slow burner, as it takes about half of it to actually get the characters inside the house. But that’s not to say the first half is bad (and there are plenty of creepy scenes and events mixed in). I actually appreciate the time it takes to establish our four main characters and build their personalities and relationships to one another. This groundwork enabled me to care much more for them in the second half of the book where things truly get horrifying. I think Scarlet is definitely my favorite of the four. Her spunky attitude is charming.
By the time the characters finally enter the house I was bursting with anticipation. I also realized that there were 250 pages left, so I was quite curious to know what all else was going to happen. And therein lies my main fault with the book. While the inside of the house is incredibly imaginative (and author Delaney does a great job of describing a wide variety of rooms in a way that I could easily picture in my mind), the characters spend a little too long exploring and the book begins to drag. But it definitely kicks back up the pace and it has a final act that blew my mind multiple times! Lots of crazy twists and turns!
This book hit a lot of personal likes of mine: a focus on character building, themes of family, friendship, and grief (a la Haunting of Hill House) an irresistible mystery that needs solving, and terrifying scenes of monsters and dark chaos. I love that there’s such a cool mix of horrors (ghosts, ghouls, creepy crawlers, monsters, eldrich terrors, etc). Also healthy doses of Silent Hill, Lovecraft, King, and more. At over 500 pages it drags just a bit in some spots, but overall I was definitely down for this epic tale!
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