Scarlett Vantassel is at a crossroads.
At 29-years old, after a recent break-up, she has returned to her hometown, moved in with her father and brother and resumed working at a dead-end job.
Needless to say, for a girl who once dreamed of greatness, things are not going as planned.
Even her popular YouTube channel, has lost its glow for her. Sinister Scarlett’s spark is gone.
On the night that she is set to film her farewell vlog, something truly insane happens, which interrupts her filming.
Just as she starts recording her swan song, there is a grand disturbance in Winterview City, where she lives.
It affects the power and can be felt in the air. Immediately setting off to investigate, Scarlett never does return to filming.
Once the dust settles, the city discovers an enormous gothic mansion has suddenly appeared in the downtown area. No one can explain it. Where did it come from?
The media dubs it, The House that Fell from the Sky.
Eventually a mysterious organization, Crow Corp, is somehow allowed to take ownership of the property.
And as you do, when you gain a creepy gothic mansion, you host a horrifying contest. If someone can survive one night in the house, which is clearly haunted, they win a million dollars.
Also, as you do, you select your contestants via lottery. I mean, it worked for Willy Wonka.
Before you get to all that however, there is a lot of build-up.
We follow Scarlett, her brother, Tommy, his ex-girlfriend, Hannah, and Scarlett’s best friend, Jackson, as they contemplate their lives, their friendships and the secret of the house.
We get the history of their relationships, what has caused them to be strained now and their own personal desires to discover the truth behind The House that Fell from the Sky.
The character with the biggest drive to get into the house is Hannah. She believes the house holds the secret to life after death, and even that she may be able to find her recently deceased mother within the walls.
Coming in at over 500-pages, this novel really leaves no stone unturned.
While I believe it could have been edited down, and certain areas tightened up, I did find the premise behind this extremely intriguing.
If I had my way, I would have had either Tommy or Jackson be the main protagonist and I also would have had the entire friend group be around the age of 21. That’s the age they seemed, although their stated ages were closer to 30.
I also found both Tommy and Jackson more believable heroes than Scarlett, and don’t get me started on Hannah. Frankly, I’m not sure why anyone was friends with her.
Their time in the house was intriguing. It was sort of a Lovecraftian-Overlook Hotel, run by Willy Wonka on acid.
If that doesn’t have you lifting your brows, I don’t know what will!?
One of the aspects I enjoyed the most about the friend’s time in the mansion was the cyclical nature of it. They would experience a bunch of horrifying things, then it was like someone hit a reset button and they would start all over again.
This thought of a never-ending trap makes me extremely agitated; like a hallway that never ends. That really freaks me out.
And while they were stuck, with no sense of time, the events and surroundings were actually continually changing. They continued to face new monsters and challenges while their sanity was pushed to the brink.
Even though I had fun reading these sections, I did feel like it was a bit more fever dream quality than I would have preferred. There was so much, it was almost too much.
With all of this being said, this is a good book and an ambitious debut.
The author, Patrick Delaney, is clearly wildly creative and I know as his career progresses, his material will continue to get stronger and stronger.
I for one, will be along for the journey. Looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Oblivion Publishing, as well as the author, Patrick Delaney, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it!!