Blinded by another stunning cover…
Sadly, The Night House was a complete flop for me. I get it. The format, and certain aspects, were creative and I give props for that, but in order to get there, it had to utilize certain plot devices that are a huge turn off for me.
It hurts me to rate this low, but I rate based on my reading experience and this was not a good one.
In this story we meet 14-year old, Richard Elauved, who moves in with his Aunt and Uncle after his parents pass away in a tragic house fire.
As if the loss of his parents wasn’t bad enough, the move puts Richard in a new school, and at 14, it’s not comfortable to be the new kid. Ballantyne is a small town as well, and since Richard is from a city, its a big change for him.
Although he is an outsider, Richard does make a couple of friends. Unfortunately, one of these friends, Tom, goes missing after he and Richard are hanging out one afternoon. Richard claims Tom got sucked through an old phone receiver, but of course, no one believes him.
Except for Karen. One of the few other friends he has made. Karen is an outcast as well and instead of laughing at Richard’s story, she encourages him to pursue it, and to hunt down the clues the police refuse to investigate.
After another classmate disappears after spending time alone with Richard, it’s more important than ever for Richard to prove he’s innocent. Richard would never hurt anyone, would he?
This story could essentially be broken down into three parts. For me, the first most closely resembled what I thought I had signed up for and although I thought Richard was a jerk, some of the plot developments were interesting.
By Act II, I was sort of ticked that it took a particular sharp turn, then by Act III, I was over it completely.
Needless to say, I can appreciate the thought that Nesbø put into the construction of this story, and I do feel like it is a bit of a clever take on some classic themes.
It does feel like Nesbø’s read some R.L. Stine. If he hasn’t, I would be surprised, because this does mirror some of the early Goosebumps tone quite a bit in the first section. From there it gets progressively more Adult, but I digress.
In spite of the fact that this wasn’t a hit for me, I know a lot of Readers will have fun with it. If the plot devices suit your tastes, you could end up loving it. I encourage everyone who thinks it sounds interesting to give it a go.
Thank you to the publisher, Knopf, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Regardless of the outcome, I’m glad I gave it a shot!