Shadowhouse: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki

Shadowhouse: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki

I HAVE BEEN MEANING TO READ THIS FOR SO LONG! I saw this book in my local Waterstones about a year ago when I was at the monthly book club that I attend. The cover drew me to it. It was just creepy. The whole aesthetics of the book was just mind-blowing. There are pictures, the pages are grey. the cover is amazing and there is an app that you can play alongside reading the book.

Some houses are more than just haunted… they’re hungry.

Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don’t know this at first. They each think they’ve been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there’s nothing innocent about Shadow House.

Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing — and nobody — can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear. And the way out?That’s disappeared, too… Enter Shadow House… if you dare.

This book has the perfect amount of creepiness and character building. Normally, what I find in horror books is that the author concentrates on the plot and just leaves the characters. However, in this novel, Poblocki gets the balance perfect. I can’t get over how creepy it is for a middle-grade novel. That’s not to say that it’s too scary for middle-grade readers or that it’s inappropriate, it’s just the atmosphere was done so well that I think it will be a perfect read for children ages 9+ who want to get their mind wrapped in a ghost story.

One of the things that I just loved about this book was that the five main protagonists are pre-teens, they’re ages 12-13 and I just felt like the children being so young added another dimension to this creepy horror book. There are strange children that randomly appear in the house and they wear really creepy masks that scared the living daylight out of me and what’s even more intriguing is that the five children have secrets of their own. These secrets are revealed over the course of the first and second book and I assume, throughout the third one as well.

If that wasn’t enough, there are pictures to accompany the story (think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, or Asylum by Madeleine Roux). The pictures themselves are weird.

The one thing that I was a bit disappointed with was the app that you can download for ‘added reading experience’. Going into the book, I thought that the app would give you information about the different pictures included in the book and the hauntings behind them. But no… The app is a game of choice. Whatever choice you make during the game decides your fate and what happens. However, an interesting twist on the game is that it gives you a backstory of the children who are behind the masks.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and I went straight on to read the second one because I just loved it that much, and then I bought the third one which I can’t wait to read! I definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a very quick, yet effective middle-grade horror novel.


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