House of Ash by Hope Cook
Expected publication: September 26th 2017 by Amulet Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
eArc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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 wasn’t expecting much when I started reading this book, mainly because I have never heard of the author or book but the premise sounded very interesting. It gave me a Dawn Kurtagich kind of vibe, so I figured if anything it would be enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised that the book had me hooked basically at the very beginning.
This book is told in two POV’s Mila back in the 1890’s and Curtis from present day. I wasn’t sure how the two POV’s will be connected or if they will in any way, but I really liked how the author utilized them. I personally liked Milas’ part of the story a whole lot more, mainly because that was the part that most of the supernatural stuff was happening. Curtis’ POV was more him trying not to let people think he was beginning to have a mental illness like his father. The way that the author started to weave their two stories together though was very interesting and made the story more enjoyable.
The authors writing style reminded me a little bit of Dawn Kurtagich’s style, especially when the story centered around Mila and the supernatural. It was a little bit gothic in the sense that the author made the setting seem super dark and creepy when the story was being centered around Gravenhearst. The author also included illustrations at the end of some chapters. They weren’t needed but they helped add a little extra to what you were currently reading. Especially when it dealt with anything about Mila and Gravenhearst.
Character wise the only ones that stood out were Mila and Curtis. The supporting characters, while they played a big role in helping the plot advance, didn’t seem to be as fleshed out as the two main ones. Some of the characters seemed to just be placed in the scene for convenience than an actual purpose. Overall, it didn’t bother me too much because I liked the plot and how quickly it was advancing.
I enjoyed this book overall, but I wish that it had a stronger ending. It seemed as if the big climax happened and then everything was kind of loosely tied up in the end. My biggest question is what is going to happen to Curtis and his sister now? I have some other questions, but I don’t want to say anything because that would spoil some major parts of the book.
Side note: This little guy is 7 years old today!! I can’t believe he has been in my life for that long and can’t wait to see what the next 7 years brings us!