HOUSE OF ASH, by Hope Cook, Amulet


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 received this book in exchange for an honest review.

“The House Won’t Stop Until It’s Fed…”

How can I resist?

Have you all noticed how the world is growing so phobic about mental health?  They think if one character is mentally ill and violent, then the WHOLE WORLD will think ALL people with mental illnesses are the same.  That is so ridiculous.  There are many disorders of mental illness that involve various degrees of behavior issues, violence is only one of them.  With that said, you have a book that has a mental illness element that affects the main Protagonist’s character arc development. The mental illness aspect creates doubt in the Protagonist, an unsettling feeling involving his surroundings and those he interacts with.

There is also an element about unfit parenting and it never ceases to make me laugh when a reviewer goes on about how upset they are to see these and other dark elements in a book they’ve read and are reviewing.  Why did you read it?  Why choose a paranormal goth fiction? Goth means dark, or having a dark atmosphere, paranormal means spooky, ghosts, spirits, etc.

I for one love books that challenge my thinking.  If something sits wrong with me, I research it. I don’t follow along like sheep and just accept what is being said as gospel. I also enjoy a book for its entertainment factor and this particular book factored well.  And to be honest, the world is not a rosy, sun kissed, rainbow and daffodil paradise.  “There be monsters ere, Captain!”

This author actually made the story richly realistic even with unrealistic elements.  That takes a lot of talent.  By having unsavory parts, the reader is made to question, squirm, feel uncomfortable and formulate an opinion, hopefully their own, about what they’re reading.  They become outraged, angry… emotional and that is the author’s job, doing this while entertaining the reader with a story. It’s human nature to question things and this book offers up an abundance of topic material to do just that.  When this happens, it’s called ‘being invested’ in what you’re reading.

I absolutely love that about this author’s work.  Creepy, unsettling, thought-provoking, disturbing, infuriating, startling, scary, enjoyable, contemplative, thrilling, raw, realistic, unforgettable… do I need to go on?

I give this book:


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