I had a hard time getting into this book. Well, maybe that's not exactly it. I got into it really easily, but then 80 or so pages in, it was hard to keep going.
There was a great mystery going on with this box and this weird house...and then there's character after character introduced and slowly I wasn't quite as interested. The mystery didn't matter quite as much with my growing frustration at the lack of plot movement.
Kinda like my relationship with the show Lost. I had to take a break around the middle of season two.
But then, and just like Lost, I got back into it and it was kinda good.
You see, there's this mysterious house that people keep showing up at and the only way they end up there is when they have contact with this box, except that they have to be in a life or death situation and suddenly they're transported to a house...that's trying to kill them at every turn.
There's more underlying mystery, but I don't want to spoil too much now do I?
So, we meet character after character, but once the house starts trying to kill them in unique and interesting ways, it was pretty fun.
For instance, there are stuffed animals (both toy and taxidermy) that come alive at "night", worms with jagged teeth, wraiths, oh my!
One of the coolest [possible spoiler, but only because this occurs later in the book] was an entire ocean in the bathroom and the accompanying way it tries to kill you.
The main problems I had were with some of the characters and dialogue. I'll tackle dialogue first. The dialogue killed a lot of the tension in many of the scenes. They would joke, and usually I'm fine with joking and breaking some tension (Jim Butcher does it fine), but this joking was just a bit too much in terms of quantity.
Now the characters. Without spoiling too much, obviously this book is hard to talk about without spoilers, the characters were often just caricatures of their time period. Tom, from the '20s, drove me nuts cat. Yes, he said "cat" every other word.
This is not to mention a couple more who just made no sense, like Pablo, who seemed to be there for comic effect even though he really wasn't funny.
I actually enjoyed the character of Sophie, who's a mentally challenged young girl who thinks in the oddest way comparing everything to what she sees as "Right" and "Wrong" and sometimes what's "Just Have To Do," which she doesn't really understand (I might have the quote wrong since I don't have the book right here with me while I write this).
And yet despite these problems I had, I'm really looking forward to the next book, The World House: Restoration. That could be because of the largish cliffhanger ending, but I also really started to like it by then too.
Adams' imagination is vast and demented and I love it. His characters need some work (not all of them), but they'll work for now if only to see what other craziness exists in this world.
3.5 out of 5 Stars (Really liked it)
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher