Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

This is a review of Return to the Dark House, the sequel to Welcome to the Dark House.

This review will contain spoilers for the first book, but it's not enough to ruin it.

If you're interested in book #1, you can check out my review HERE.

Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2)
by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publisher: Dysney-Hyperion
Goodreads link: (click here)

What's it about?

It's been two months since Ivy Jensen survived The Dark House. As far as she knows, nobody else came out alive except for a girl named Taylor Monroe, who managed to escape before the horrible nightmare even began. The police and FBI found a lot of blood and enough evidence to conclude that the rest of the teens that were trapped in the amusement park on that fateful night were no longer alive. At this point, they are looking for a killer who is masquerading as The Nightmare Elf, an iconic horror villain, and the bodies of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie and Garth. Meanwhile, Ivy is left to deal with the memories of her terrifying experience. She's not dealing very well and has temporarily ended up in a mental institution. Even though the evidence all points to her friends being dead, she refuses to give up hope. The killer's trail has gone cold, but Ivy is determined to find him and save the others who became his victims.

As time passes, Ivy is able to resume her life, but The Nightmare Elf is always in the back of her mind. She knows he isn't finished with her. One day, she receives a mysterious video that she knows is from the killer. The police insist that she stay out of it, but Ivy believes that this killer, who is obsessed with horror movies, will only be satisfied if she stars in his "sequel". Ivy believes it's the only way to save anyone who might have survived that fateful night, so she contacts Taylor Monroe, the other survivor, for help.

Taylor is battling her own demons from that night. She knows she ran away before anything began, and she feels incredible guilt for not sending help sooner. She feels like a coward, but what she saw that first night that made her run scared her into a such a panic that she didn't know what to do. All she could think to do was to save herself. Everyone now knows her story and who she is, so life after The Dark House hasn't been easy. People shun Taylor for her actions and think of Ivy Jensen as a hero, so when Ivy reaches out for her help in tracking the killer, she has a chance to redeem herself. But, will she be able to? Can Taylor gather the courage to go back into the world of the Nightmare Elf? Ivy seems so brave and tenacious, but is facing a killer really the smartest thing to do?

Before time runs out, Ivy and Taylor find themselves hunting the possibly haunted halls of a long forgotten Gothic boarding school in hopes of finally finding out who's really behind The Nightmare Elf. As they navigate the halls, they discover shocking secrets that possibly connect what happened to them to the murder of Ivy's parents when she was a little girl. Hopefully they can survive a second meeting and they can find others from The Dark House still alive.

My Thoughts

This was a perfectly creepy and suspenseful sequel that brings back the feeling of those wonderful 90s horror movies. If you liked Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer or Urban Legend, this series is a must read. I'm going to assume that most who've read this far in the review have read book one, so as for Return to the Dark House, it was one of my most anticipated sequels of the year and it did not disappoint. It was smart and fun with loads of suspense and just the right amount of blood and scares. It kept my heart pounding as I quickly turned the pages. As sequels go, it is excellent. Scarier, more suspense, more mysteries uncovered, familiar characters and a really messed up killer, who we get to learn more about. That's right, this time, we get to take a look inside the head of The Nightmare Elf and what may have lead him to become the monster he is today. This book delves into his past and connects it to the events unfolding in the present. The first book took us into a terrifying amusement park of horror, the sequel leads us down the deserted halls of a creepy old boarding school that has many of it's own deep, dark secrets. Oh, and the best part of this book...IVY! Ivy Jensen is an awesomely badass "lead" in this horror TRILOGY. Yup. It seems that there's at least one more book, and I can't wait to read it!

OH! The antici --

-- pation!

Laurie Faria Stolarz is a true scream queen!

<3 Michelle

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