The Room Beyond by Stephanie Elmas
My Rating: 3 for Writing, 4 for Creep Factor
This is a hard book to review. I was compelled to read the entire book, and really wanted to find out the explanation for the disturbing things going on, but at the same time, I felt the writing was often a bit heavy-handed. The dialog was not what I would have preferred, though I think some of the cheesy lines might have been intentional, especially during the sections of the book set in the past. This is a convoluted ghost story, involving a house and its very peculiar occupants, and a man whose unpleasant and selfish misery will not let him stay buried in the past.
If you are looking for a twisted gothic tale of Victorian excesses that taint an entire family into the next two generations or so, The Room Beyond might be your cup of tea. If you are looking for likable characters you want to root for, maybe not so much. I was sort of hypnotized by the thing, kind of like staring into the eyes of a cobra, but I can’t say as I ever felt much sympathy for anyone in the tale, and that’s a critical flaw in my book, pardon the pun. I want to have someone that I’m invested in and rooting for. This was more like a case of trying to figure out who was the least objectionable. And then there was that dialogue.
Judging on Creep Factor alone, I would definitely give this a four. It was creepy as could be. But judging on overall writing, characters, and dialogue, I’m not willing to go over a 3. I do hope the author tries her hand at something else, because I think there is a good imagination at work there, and I’d be willing to read another of her books to see where she might go with a different plot line. But as always, this is strictly my opinion. This book has garnered a lot of five-star ratings, so there are plenty of people who really enjoyed it. Give it a try for yourself. You could be one of them.
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