Four children are drawn together to the Larkspur mansion, all under different circumstances. Poppy believes that she’s meeting her great aunt for the first time. Marcus was told he was picked up for a scholarship to a musical academy. Azumi believes she’s going to a prep school. And acting twins Dash and Dylan think they’re starring in a horror movie. But little do they know that the mansions intentions are more horrible then they could have ever imagined.
Why this book?: I liked some of Dan Poblocki’s other books, such as The Nightmarys and The Stone Child.
Poblocki’s books seem to either be a hit or miss for me. I loved his earlier novels such as The Nightmarys and The Stone Child. I wasn’t the biggest fan of his more recent books, such as The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe, and I honestly couldn’t even get into his The House on Stone’s Throw Island. This one, unfortunately, falls with the latter.
I wanted something scary, but not too scary, ya feel me? Poblocki usually handles that unique feeling of mine pretty well, but I made a mistake in choosing this one. One of my biggest problems with this book is that you never learn the reasoning behind everything. Poblocki brings certain facts to the forefront, but then never explains or gives the reader a reason for things being that way. Why is the house drawing these kids together? Why are these kids special? What are these clues that we get into each kid’s past? Why are we getting these clues, when nothing is explained? Why is Marcus’s uncle important, and who is Poppy’s Girl? Nothing is explained and is was eternally frustrating because I was in the dark for the entire book.
Not just including that, but I just wasn’t understanding the history of the house. A little was explained, something about an orphanage, and some kids who were abused, but they were literally just references and nothing concrete. Most details that were included in this book were so obscure or unrelated that they gave you nothing. Absolutely nothing. Another thing that frustrated me was that in the few scenes that featured fights…I couldn’t tell where what body part was where.
The characters were bland. There was no personality with any of the characters, besides Poppy being quiet yet smart, Azumi being defined by her missing sister, Dash being the smart twin and Dylan being the annoying twin, and Marcus being the music nerd. They were all defined by small characteristics that didn’t matter in relation to the story.
Final Rating: ★★☆☆☆
I don’t hate it. Really, I don’t. It wasn’t a bad book, and I have a feeling Poblocki wrote it in the sense that the questions would be answered throughout the next few books. Considering that there are four books in this series, it’s just not worth my time to read four books of a series that I’m not caring for. Nothing made sense, and the characters were bland, so I won’t be reading more.
Would I Recommend?
I guess it just depends on what you’re looking for. Personally, I would recommend Poblocki’s The Nightmarys or The Stone Child over this one, but I would still recommend Poblocki’s books. Just not…this specific series, got it?
Published: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page Count: 217
Genre: Horror/Middle Grade/Mystery
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Some houses are more than just haunted… they’re hungry.
Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don’t know this at first. They each think they’ve been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there’s nothing innocent about Shadow House.
Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing — and nobody — can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear.
And the way out?
That’s disappeared, too…
Enter Shadow House… if you dare.
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