52 Book Challenge: Darkhouse by Karina Halle

22 Mar


{Proceed with caution, heavy spoilers all up in this bitch}

Have you ever read a book that you honestly thought you were enjoying until you got around the halfway point and realized that, in fact, you absolutely hate it? In a nutshell, that was my experience with Darkhouse. It is the first in The Experiments in Terror series, which is Goodread’s darling: it gets almost nothing but rave reviews, and Karina Halle has a legion of rabid fangirls who insist that these books are not only truly terrifying, but feature two great protagonists.

None of these things are true. I scare about as easily as a two month old kitten and not once did this book make me even slightly anxious. Probably because I’m not afraid of kelp, which seems to be the main villain here (that is not a joke, people are literally attacked by kelp). But many books in the horror genre are not truly terrifying, so I could write that off if it delivered on its other promise: great characters.

For a good chunk of the book I actually loved Perry, the heroine. She was a flawed character: short, not skinny, with a dark past and an attitude problem. The “hero,” Dex, I never liked: he is brusque and obnoxious. I get that he is supposed to have “bad boy charm” but I found him grating. Also, many of his mannerisms (love of pie, anyone?) were ripped from Supernatural. A lot of this book was ripped from Supernatural. Two people forced on a roadtrip to solve a supernatural mystery. There is some evil in their past pushing them forward: the evil is not related to the case in this book, because we know there will be more episodes to feature it–um, I mean novels! One is reluctant, one wants to go see the monsters. They use homebrewed tech, they do copious amounts of research while driving. Music plays a focal part of the story. Sound familiar?

Okay, now imagine if someone wrote a Supernatural fanfic… crossed with 50 Shade of Grey. Because Perry Palomino is a curvy Anastasia Steele clone. She has a body “flaw” (huge breasts) that she constantly whines about but are something every woman wants. She gets promoted for literally no reason even though she is terrible at her job. She is catty and cruel to any woman she deems more beautiful. For example, Dex hides from his girlfriend that he is on medication and Perry blames the girlfriend for this. Why? Because the girlfriend is hot, and thus must be a bitch. She is attracted to Dex only because of his looks and voice: in every other aspect, he is a douche. For an example of her cattiness, look at how she views her own sister:

Ada was back in full-swing and fully immersed in proving her blog was her blog and no one else’s. In fact, she had posted every day since I left. It felt like she was trying to bury my posts under heaps of fashion and frivolity.

For context, Ada got seriously sick and Perry covered her fashion blog for 3 days and wrote about ghosts (why ghosts? To drive the plot forward. It makes no logical sense). Perry’s posts did well, and Ada was surprised. Of course Perry gloated like none other. But look at how bitchy she is here–”fashion and frivolity?” Because a blurry video of you in a lighthouse with an orb that looks like it *could* be a ghost is so much more valuable? Also, she has said many times in the narrative that Ada posts every day–she isn’t trying to bury anything, that is just her routine. Talk about insecure.

Then… there is Dex. I hit a paragraph 63% of the way in that almost made me give up on this book. Here it is:

“She’s lactose intolerant and uses it as an excuse to binge and purge. You know, an acceptable form of bulimia. I hope you don’t subscribe to that bullshit.”

He is talking about his girlfriend. Who apparently suffers from an eating disorder, which is a mental illness. And not only is he flippant about it, but it apparently annoys him. What. The. Hell. This book in general is totally, unacceptably blase about mental illness. Perry used to cut when she was young and was into HEAVY drug use, but it was “just a phase.” We find out at the end that Dex is schizophrenic (the same friggin guy who is ANNOYED BY BULIMIA). But who cares, he’s probably fine.

Basically, this book is the worst. The writing is juvenile and features an annoying amount of word repetition. There is a point where Perry is being strangled and she looks up and thinks “the moon was on its nightly orbit across the earth.” Mm yes, a normal thought to pop into your head on such an occasion! Add in the boring plot (haunted lighthouse, spooooky) and godawful characters, and it is a recipe for disaster. But if you like really, really terrible books that fall into the “so bad it’s fun to laugh at” genre, you might get a kick out of this one.


Book 22 Darkhouse Lipstick Rating Full

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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