"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Haunted by Michaelbrent Collings

Cap and Sarah are moving into their new home, a large old house which has been vacant (but not empty...) for a long time. Everything is perfect - they are even expecting their first baby - but as soon as they begin unpacking, strange things start happening, and they swiftly come to realise that they got more than they bargained for in buying the house...

The premise initially intrigued me as I like haunted house stories, and I had also been promised an ‘unexpected’ twist at the end. Plus, the cover looks very scary! I really did not like this book, however, for several reasons.

First of all, the characters are quite irritating. Everything is so wonderful for them and Collings insists on reminding the reader how deeply and utterly in love they are on almost every single page and it quickly becomes very tiresome to read. He not only records their cringe-inducing love in laborious detail, but we are also forced to bear witness to their childish jokes and the silly baby voices they babble at each other:
‘“Awww,” she cooed, making her voice high and silly as though addressing a mildly challenged toddler. “Is oo having twouble?”’
I don’t yearn for this sort of babyish lovey dovey romance in a horror novel, and it was way too prevalent to be in the least bit tolerable.

Moving on from the frustrating characters, the main problem with the novel was the profound lack of suspense and build of terror. The spooky occurrences began almost immediately, and then for 260 odd pages just kept going at the same rate of scariness, with events circling and recurring over and over. This meant the novel rapidly became boring and repetitive, and I really struggled to finish it.

The ‘twist’ was very disappointing because I guessed what it was quite early on; it was quite predictable and not very shocking, in fact it was very clichéd, so it did not redeem the novel for me.

Furthermore, the writing was of fairly poor quality, and was not enjoyable to read. There were a couple of badly phrased parts which could easily have been rectified with a little thought or a decent editor, such as:
“Angry, badgering sounds that conveyed anger.”
I don’t see the need to inform the reader that the ‘angry’ noise ‘conveyed anger’, as it’s self explanatory.

In conclusion, this novel was severely lacking in terror and suspense, was boring to read, was not scary and all in all was not enjoyable as a horror novel. It could definitely have benefited from being much shorter - my Kindle edition was 262 pages - which is way too long for the events that transpired, and perhaps cutting about a quarter of it might have increased the intensity of the couple’s situation and have made for a more exciting read.

Rating: 3/10 

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