Series: Book One of Dark Carousel
Genres: YA, Horror, Supernatural
Rating: 4/5 stars
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A dark presence is collecting girls, deep in the forest. Two girls have vanished, and now a third. Cassie and her friends desperately search the forest for their friend, who went missing on a hike. When they find vintage dolls hanging from strings on branches, they should have turned back.
But they didn’t.
The dolls lead to a crumbling mansion. Beneath the mansion lies a macabre, life-sized dollhouse that is controlled by a terrifying being. In the dollhouse, you must dance until your feet bleed, sit on the toy shelf if you’re bad, and if you’ve been very bad, you are sent to the toy box – a pitch-dark cavern that contains beings beyond nightmares.
And now there is no escape.
Dollhouse by Anya Allyn is definitely a book worth reading! There are a lottt of things I liked about this book, so I’mma just list them in this review!
I really liked the plot of this book. I especially liked the twists and turns of the story, because they weren’t super obvious or coming out of nowhere.
The pacing for the second half of the book is GREAT. It’s actually quite perfectly paced. Not too fast or info-dumpy and not to slow that it’s boring.
Ms. Allyn, thank you for writing a child character as being smart and adaptable and not making her out to be a huge inconvenience.
ALSO, thank you for the awesomely badass WOC. (You know who I’m talking about!) She came out of nowhere and I loved it!
Who even was Henry? Was he even important? I kind of just felt my eyes glaze over during his scenes.
The first half of the book was paced pretty slow…and full of teenage angst (not really a negative, but it was definitely ABUNDANT.)
Cassie is very whiney and annoying throughout the book. However, I granted leniency for this book (even though protagonists like this usually drive me nuts) because it IS a YA book, and I’m assuming Cassie was written this way so her character developmentis more pronounced throughout the series.
LACEY I mean…WHAT THE F—
Ethan. I’m so very confused, nay, conflicted, about you, Ethan.
But the real reason Dollhouse got a 4 and not a 5 is because it’s supposed to be a horror book, but I didn’t really feel creeped out or even skeeved. This might just be a personal thing (I grew up watching scary movies with my mom and I read mostly Stephen King and Dean Koontz from the ages of 10-14) so I might be a bit hard to scare with literature.
All in all, I would totally recommend this book to anyone who likes YA, American Horror Story (it kind of reminded me of Murder House and Asylum) or even Buffy. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, because I REALLY NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!
ANYA ALLYN is the author of the young adult DARK CAROUSEL series (Gothic horror) and LAKE EPHEMERAL novel (science fiction). She also writes thrillers as ANNI TAYLOR.
She enjoys fiction that is a little on the dark side. Also, she enjoys Black Forest Cake just a little too much. She lives by the beach with her partner and four children, about an hour away from the Sydney (Australia) rush. She has previously worked as a Features’ Editor for Fairfax Media and in promotions