Darkhouse - Karina Halle You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews.Summary:Perry Palomino is having trouble finding purpose in her life. Her job sucks, she doesn't fit in with her family, and she suffers terrible, vivid nightmares. While trying to escape her family one night, Perry decides to investigate a haunted lighthouse––where she meets Dex Foray, an amateur ghost hunter. Soon, the two of them decide to work together to start a ghost-hunting blog. But Perry isn't entirely sure she can trust Dex, and the two of them seem to be getting themselves deeper into danger. My thoughts:I had mixed feelings about Darkhouse. I thought the idea had promise, and I was interested in reading a good story about ghost-hunting, because I think the concept of it is intriguing but I haven't actually read that many ghost-related stories that I enjoyed. This book was mostly just okay for me, but it didn't really live up to my expectations. I thought Perry was a relatable character––although she could come off as being really annoying, and the relationship between her and Dex was entertaining for the most part. But, I had some issues with the plot and the way the book was written.What I liked:- Darkhouse is a fun story. It doesn't have a lot of depth or substance or anything, but I still mostly enjoyed the experience of reading it. It has a humorous tone, it's not too complicated, it has some good thrills in it … So, you know, it's the type of addicting book you could read in just a day or two. - I liked that Perry was different from most YA heroines. (Actually I'm not sure whether this book qualifies as YA … maybe it was NA? I don't really know.) She's Italian, she has curves … she's not the typical white/skinny protagonist, and I thought that was cool. There were times when I kind of felt like the author was beating the reader over the head with it, like, "LOOK. I'M NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS. NEED I REMIND YOU AGAIN?" But anyway, I liked that it was a bit more realistic in that sense. - I also felt like Perry was pretty easy to relate to. She's funny and has a bit of an attitude, which gives her an edge and makes her feel more like a real person. Sometimes her sense of humor kind of fell flat for me, but most of the time I enjoyed her narrative voice. - The dynamic between Perry and Dex is interesting. I'm still not sure how I feel about Dex, but I did like how Perry refused to take crap from him. I felt like he was kind of an asshole sometimes, but instead of just taking the abuse, Perry always confronted him about it. I don't know if it's really a healthy relationship, but I was at least happy to see that Perry could stand up for herself.What didn't work for me:- As I already mentioned, sometimes I felt like the author was constantly reminding us that Perry ISN'T LIKE OTHER GIRLZ. And like I said, while I was happy she wasn't the typical white-and-skinny female protagonist, I didn't need to be reminded of it all the time. In addition to that, I felt like sometimes the portrayal of Italian people was kind of stereotypical.- Kind of related to that, there were times when Perry would find the weirdest opportunities to describe what she looked like. And since it was in first person, it seemed really odd. For instance:"The sun teased the freckles across my nose and the lightest breeze tossed my hair so I could see the shades of violet dye in the black strands."Well, I guess the hair thing isn't that weird, although I think it's still kind of an awkward place to describe what your own hair looks like. But like, how can she see the freckles on her own nose? Even if I stare cross-eyed at my nose all I see is … a blurry thing that I know is my nose, but yeah. I don't think that's possible.- I had trouble suspending my disbelief a lot of the time. You're probably like, "But Brigid, it's a book about ghosts and stuff, it's not supposed to be realistic!" But it's actually not that stuff that I found hard to believe … it was the more everyday stuff. Mostly what I found hard to believe was that Perry's ghost-hunting blog thing became so ridiculously popular. Basically what happens is that Perry's sister asks her to update her uber-popular fashion blog or whatever, and Perry decides to write some post about ghost-hunting. And apparently all these people who read a fashion blog are suddenly fascinated with ghost-hunting and don't get pissed about it. In fact, it draws in like a billion new readers overnight. Errm okay. I really don't see why these people would think Perry had any more credibility than all the other crazy ghost-hunter people on the internet. Just … yeah, I couldn't get myself to believe that.- The excessive swearing. Look, I really don't think there's anything morally wrong with swearing, and I swear like a sailor. (Not so much in my reviews, but you know … in my day-to-day life.) But there's such a thing as overkill. According to a search in the ebook version, variations of the word "fuck" occur in this book 64 times. (Variations of "shit" also occurs 57 times––including in the context "shiteous" which I'm 99% sure isn't a word.) And considering it's not too long of a book … that's quite a lot. Sure, an author has freedom of speech and all that, but I felt like this constant unnecessary use of f-bombs was some kind of forced effort to make the characters sound "cool." But yeah, it just didn't work for me.- There were some moments I found a little … cringe-worthy. Firstly, rape jokes. I'm not saying these were a constant thing, because I think they only popped up once or twice. But, yeah. I don't think they should ever occur. Ever. There's this part at the beginning where Perry is exploring the creepy haunted lighthouse, and she keeps being like, "Oh no, what if there's some crazy guy who lives here and this is his 'rape palace'? Haha RAPE PALACE, I'm just going to keep saying RAPE PALACE." I … just … God, no. Then she runs into someone (Dex) and: "I squinted uncomfortably and felt a pair of hands on my head. One felt gingerly along my neck, another brushed against my forehead. Rapists are gentle these days, I thought absently.… Haha wow hilarious. Good one. #SarcasmDex also had a tendency to say some offensive things. For example, referring to other ghost-hunters as "tards" (also saying things like "Do you think I'm a tard?") and saying that going to the gym was "the gayest shit ever." Nice. So, yeah. I didn't think these moments happened too often, but there were enough little offensive things here and there that it still rubbed me the wrong way on occasion. - I just didn't find the story that scary. With the series being called "An Experiment in Terror" I was expecting … well, terror. I wanted it to be something a bit darker. And even though there were some creepy moments, it wasn't enough for me. Maybe it's just that I'm a fan of scary stories so I was hoping for something that would scare my pants off. But I felt that too much of the story was dedicated to "witty banter" between Perry and Dex, the two of them stumbling around with cameras, etc. Sometimes there were actual scary supernatural occurrences, but … I just wish there had been more of those, because in the end the book felt more like humor/romance rather than horror. The final word:Mostly, this book was just okay for me. I thought the narrative voice was pretty strong, and the dynamic between the main characters was intriguing. I just wanted it to be scarier, plus some things about it felt forced and/or offensive. I might give the rest of the series a shot, though. ~ Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews ~