It feel like it has been forever since I have written a review. The mood has just not struck me lately. While I have read a lot, I have been slacking on turning on the laptop and typing away. But here I am today, tying away at a review that I hope you will enjoy!
House of Ash by Hope Cook
After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to discover Gravenhearst, a labyrinth mansion that burned down in 1894. When he locks eyes with a steely Victorian girl in a forgotten mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. If he can unravel the mystery, he can save his sanity . . . and possibly the girl who haunts his dreams.
But more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles. When her mother disappears and her sinister stepfather reveals his true intentions, Mila and her sister fight to escape Gravenhearst and unravel the house’s secrets—before it devours them both.
*I was provided a copy via Netgalley & the publisher, but all opinions are my own!*
I didn’t know exactly what to expect from this book. Was this going to be time-travel-y, horrorish, fantastical? Like, I didn’t know! It definitely turned out to be a mix of all of those. With a whole lot more just thrown in at you. The synopsis really does the bare minimum to prepare you for the novel. I’m not saying that it was unpleasant, but very different from what I didn’t even know to expect! (Rendz, you make no sense sometimes…)
What I Liked
Mila: While I felt she was just a tad underdeveloped, I enjoyed her character. For a woman living in the 1800s she was rather scandalous. She rode horses and didn’t like to conform to the typical role of a woman in her time. She was far more advanced in her thinking. She was most definitely not perfect, she had her flaws especially her tendency to run head first into trouble. But she was undeniably brave considering the struggles she went through.
Curtis: I found he was the bigger focus of the novel. He had a tough life, grieving his dead mother having to protect his younger sister and somehow manage their mentally ill father. It is clear that Curtis did not enjoy his life and would have rather been born in a different family. Now that his own sanity is at risk with the whispers, he finds himself in even more troubles and things get a hell of a lot worse. He was a very complex character. He had his rough side, his tender side, his defeated side and his fighter side. A lot of different faces for different situations.
Switching Between Times: It was smooth and not confusing. Sometimes the story gets all jumbled when it keeps being switched back and forth, back and forth. I thought that it was great in this book. There was never really a dull moment in either. I would get engrossed in the Curtis’ time and then switch to Mila’s and still be engrossed because things were always changing!
Setting: *IN CANADA* You know, patriotic Rendz brought out her flag and timmies XD
But seriously, I enjoyed the haunting and ominous setting. It was very creepy and alluring, and went perfectly with both time lines. As much as I like to say that it was very haunting, I will say that maybe a little more detail to just complete the atmosphere would have made this book even better.
THIS IS MONSTER HOUSE BUT WITH TIME TRAVEL: If you don’t know what I’m talking about…I’m talking about this:
*I don’t know about you, but this movie freaked me out as a small person!*
The element of the living house is what I found common between the book and the movie! It was what gave the extra little creep factor! While I was reading and this image of a creepy house that lives popped up into my mind, THIS MOVIE came to me in a huge flashback! The stories are very different but the whole haunted house thing is similar!
It eats people….
What I Disliked:
Serious Issues That Are Just Kind of Thrown At You: By page 40 or so in this book I was exposed to several serious topics. You have parental abuse, mental illness and suicide. I was anticipating MI, but the other two just came at me. The parental abuse was very minimal…but I found that it was also addressed minimally. Suicide went hand in hand with the MI aspect…but again, I felt like it was dealt with too simply. Again, I don’t know. I am no expert in any of these topics, so I cannot really be a judge.
Abrupt Ending: This was the ending: Mystery solved. Dusts off hands. The End. There was no final ta-da or wazam! I kept flipping to see if there would be more after, but no. There was a big *thing* at the end that I think needed some explaining because I found it hard to wrap my head around!
Overall, I thought it was a good story. It did keep me on my toes and had some great creepy feelings to go alongside the time travelling mystery. I liked how the story flowed and came together overall, despite those minor issues I mentioned. It didn’t leave room for a sequel, but like…a sequel could be useful to explain that *thing* I mentioned at the end! I almost forgot! This book has a few images! They aren’t full colour and kind of look like X-rays…but not! But again, it added to the creep factor!
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Recommend: A Monster House-esque tale, with creepy Victorian and Present Day Canada! Oh yes!
I’d like to know how you fare in a haunted house! Can you make it to the end? Would you break down in the middle of it? Or never dare go in?