Oct 11, 2018

Review--Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

Return to the Dark House is Laurie Faria Stolarz's conclusion to the Dark House duology and I have to say, it was still pretty spooky! It was eerie and perhaps just a bit more terrifying than its predecessor! Things haven't changed much for Ivy since she escaped the madman who had kept her and the other teenagers hostage all weekend long. And almost a year later, it seems the killer is ready for round 2!

When we open up, Ivy is in a mental hospital after experiencing everything that she did, but over time, she gets better and is able to leave. Everyone believes she's given up her quest to single handedly track down the killer. Not that that's what she wants to do, what she wants is to find the others, Parker especially since she had to leave him that night. She's positive that the others are alive as well and wants nothing more than to rescue them.

This time around we get to meet Taylor, the mysterious seventh victim who was missing from the start of the first book. It turns out she had her reasons for cutting out early with the Dark House weekend getaway and it basically saved her life. Though her life has not been easy or kind since she survived that horrible fate and most everyone in her school blames her for what happened to everyone else.

Ivy and Taylor end up teaming up together when they both start getting mysterious messages from the Dark Elf. Now more than ever, Ivy is convinced that this mysterious murderer is the same one who killed her parents all those years ago. He's trying to lure them out to "star" in his next picture with the promise of safety for all her friends that he's taken if she were to come along.

Soon Ivy and Taylor find themselves in a brand new horror house filled with gruesome happenings and a murderer who enjoys playing mind games! This was a seriously twisted read that had me reading the pages as fast as I could to see what the outcome would be! It's the kind of read that must be read in one sitting apparently, as I almost did just that! It's simply, unputdownable!

It's hard to say which book might be creepier than the other! Both have their own levels of creepiness, I honestly can't decide if one was scarier than the other! They were pretty equal in that area! Though I will say that I was sad that Ivy was mostly on her own for this one! I enjoyed her interactions with Parker in the first book, even if I thought it was a little cheesy that they were falling in love after a day! Lol.

Although, what I found to be a tad upsetting about this book were the lack of answers! Perhaps that's the way of things with horror/slasher films. You never really know who the killer is--though the police "supposedly" do--you don't get the why's of all the questions you have, you don't even get the where's or what's to a few of the other unanswered questions. And since this is the last and final book, I was a bit crushed by those lack of answers. But again, maybe this is the way things go in the movies that I don't watch. Having a  highly active imagination I could never stomach the slasher films!

There are still sooo many things I wish I knew the answers to, mostly ones from the first book cliffhangers as well. Though I feel like I can guess the simple answer to some of those and have that be what it was, but there are way too many WTF questions that popped up in this one that don't get elaborated on! It's mindblowingly annoying...yet at the same time, entertaining! I really feel like it's Laurie's intent to drive us mad with the lack of answers! I just sooo wish that this wasn't the final book! 

If you're looking for that spine-tingling horror/thriller read I would highly recommend The Dark House duology! Yes, the ending does leave you craving answers that just aren't there, but in a way, it kind of works for the story! This was definitely an amazingly awesome read that I would recommend in a heartbeat!

Overall Rating 4.95/5 stars


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