Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Review: Darkhouse by Karina Halle

Title: Darkhouse
Author: Karina Halle
Series: Experiment in Terror, Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Horror
Release Date: 12 May 2011

There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts.

Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.

So many of my friends love this series. I finally got around to trying it, and while I'm not immediately enamoured of it I am intrigued enough to want to continue. Perry is a fantastic main character, and I can see the potential for the ghost story-lines. Plus I'm told that it gets better and better. Considering this is something I say about one of my favorite series...well, I'll definitely be continuing.

I think your enjoyment of this book is going to ride or die on whether you like Perry. Personally I loved her. From nearly the beginning I could relate to her, understand her, and empathize with her. Perry's always been a bit different. Her childhood held some aspects that I think her family would like her to never revisit; and her teen years were filled with self-hatred, drugs, and depression. Now she's stuck in a job she doesn't like, in an industry she's not sure she's even interested in. I really liked how no-nonsense Perry is. She's straight-forward, honest with herself, and somewhat sarcastic in her thoughts. Plus she can take care of herself; Perry doesn't need anyone else to save or protect her. Which is a good thing when she gets in deeper with a ghost story than she ever imagined.

And here's where Dex comes in. I'm, honestly, not sure what to make of him. There are moments when I glimpse someone that I want to know more, someone that I almost think I could like. Then he goes and does something that irritates me. When I wasn't fluctuating between liking and being irritated by him, I spent most of the book just feeling 'meh' about him. Regardless how I feel about him though, I do have to admit that he and Perry are a good team. I like how they work together, except for a few things that Dex does while they're ghost-hunting that really irked me.

Speaking of the ghost-hunting, I was a little disappointed in this aspect of the story-line. Yes, it was creepy as heck during most of Perry's encounters. There were things that happened to Perry that would have freaked me out had they happened to me. The resolution of it just felt so abrupt, and ... not really resolved. Yes, I know this is a 9-part series so it's probably supposed to feel that way, but I guess I was hoping for more. This entire book felt like the 'meet-cute' of Dex and Perry, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this was a teaser. Something like 'Here's what you're going to get...what you might see more of...who these people might be.' Darkhouse has its creepy moments - some seriously freaky - and with one character I love and another I'm more than a bit curious about, I'll definitely be continuing on in the series.

Can I just say, also, how much I love that the cover fits the book so beautifully?

Grade: B-

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