Dollhouse by Anya Allyn
Release Date - May 20, 2014Publisher Website - Paper Lantern Lit - The Studio
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 205 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Dress-up turns deadly. . .Dollhouse is part mystery, part horror, and fear inducing. It's a page turning thriller whose strength is the author's ability to right shiver inducing descriptions, and it's promising plot.
When Cassie’s best friend, Aisha, disappears during a school hike, Cassie sets off with Aisha’s boyfriend Ethan and their best friend Lacey, determined to find her. But the mist-enshrouded mountains hold many secrets, and what the three teens discover is far more disturbing than any of them imagined: beneath a rundown mansion in the woods lies an underground cavern full of life-size toys and kidnapped girls forced to dress as dolls.
Even as Cassie desperately tries to escape the Dollhouse, she finds herself torn between her forbidden feelings for Ethan, and her intense, instinctive attraction to The Provider, a man Cassie swears she has known before…
Because Cassie’s capture wasn’t accidental, and the Dollhouse is more than just a prison where her deepest fears come true—it’s a portal for the powers of darkness. And Cassie may be the only one who can stop it.
The mystery of Dollhouse is what captivate me the most in the story. Being in the same position as the characters helped draw me into the story. Having it unravel at a perfect pace ensured that I would keep turning the pages long into the night. The pacing is one of the strongest elements of the story because it really grips you and forces you to keep reading. I was never sure what to expect, and that kept me on the edge while reading.
If you have a fear of dolls, you might be best to skip this one. The author has an incredible talent for taking something innocent from childhood and twisting it in a macabre, chilling way. It's done rather well, and this reads as a compelling horror novel. It has elements of suspense, and intrigue as well, but the horror aspects shone the brightest for me.
A lot of what happens is too plot depended to go into without spoilers, but the unraveling of what is actually happening, and the added elements left me with a feeling of promise. The story went in a different direction than I anticipated, and I love when a story can surprise me. I spent a lot of the novel wanting answers to questions, and for every answer I got, more questions surfaced. It was a little disorienting but it reflected the characters state of mind, so I, personally, felt it worked overall.
Sadly, the characters were the weakest link in this, for me. So much was done with the setting, the build up, and imagery that it left less focus on the characters themselves. I am hopeful that perhaps, as this seems to be a series, that with the ground work laid out, the sequels will add some development to the characters.
A creepy, unsettling novel that is filled with striking imagery. The focus is on the setting, and background rather than the characters and that did cause a little disconnect. It ends on a rather abrupt cliffhanger that left me wanting to find out what happens next, so I am definitely curious enough to pick up the sequel.
If you need some visual chills to entice you to check out this creepy read just check out the book trailer below!