I’m so desensitized to horror that it takes a lot to scare
Surprisingly, Dollhouse, by Anya Allyn, managed to do just
The story started out as a simple one: Teenager Cassie Claiborne is struggling with
guilt. The guilt stems from the fact that one of her best friends disappeared
in the forests surrounding her Australian home – and the reason the girl,
Aisha, ran off on her own was because she realized Cassie was interested in her
Distressed by her own betrayal – and lingering feelings for
Ethan – Cassie and her other friend Lacey take off into the great unknown in
Australia to try and find Aisha – even though they realize they’re probably
looking for a body at this point.
Surprisingly, Lacey and Cassie meet up with Ethan and
stumble on something that blows their minds – and drops them into a pit of hell
they very well may not be able to climb out of.
You see, the weird old “guy in the woods” is hiding a secret
that is so big, it literally transcends time and logic.
‘Dollhouse,’ the first book in a planned trilogy, really is
something special. There’s a horrific nature to the book – and it has a twist
that I don’t want to reveal because it will ruin it for the reader – that I
really have to give Allyn credit for.
‘Dollhouse’ is young adult gothic horror – but the story is
bigger than the reader realizes, even as it builds to an extremely dark
As good as this book is, there is one problem, and the sad
thing is it’s the difference in language between Australia and America. I, for
example, was irritated to see courtesy instead of curtsy and manikin instead of
mannequin. Yes, I know that says something about me – but it really drove me
crazy. I think it’s because I liked the story so much and it kept jerking me out of the narrative.
Still, as much as that bothered me, I’m eagerly looking
forward to the second book in the series – because, quite frankly, I have to
know what happens to these characters.
That’s the mark of a good book, for me.
‘Dollhouse’ is currently free
on Amazon and is available for
in paperback. Note: Both those prices could be subject to change.