Book Reviews, Books and Tea Book Club, Spooks and Tea

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Series: The Dead House #1
Genre: Horror | Young Adult
Length: 448 pages
Published on 10th March 2016 by Orion Children’s Books
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Dawn Kurtagich: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Purchased for myself from WHSmith with a gift card

Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High School burned down. The blaze killed three and injured twenty, and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. For two decades, little was revealed about what became known as the Johnson Incident. Until now. A diary has been found in the ruins of the school. In this diary, Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s twin, tells of the strange and disturbing sequence of events leading to the incident. But Kaitlyn doesn’t exist. She never has. Chilling, creepy and compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

Before I start this review I think its really important that I pre-face this with this book can be read in 2 different ways.

Not like Replica different ways. But in how real you want it to be.

It could be interpreted as a story about a girl with multiple personality disorder which I hadn’t even considered until I read Jen’s review (since removed as they no longer blog). However I read it as a purely supernatural book due to everything that happens in it. So do take this into consideration when reading!

The Dead House follows Carly and Kaitlyn. Two girls who inhabit one body. One has the night, the other has the day. Until one day they disappear. But not until after a few mysterious and supernatural events happen at their school.

One of my favourite aspects about this book is that its made up of found material; newspaper clippings, transcribed interviews, diary entries, and transcribed videos.

This allowed the book to have a very unique style whilst nailing the horror aspects very well. Almost perfectly. It was creepy and eerie.

The fact that barely anyone will believe the girls about their supernatural existence is frustrating but allows for some interesting interactions. Particularly between the two girls too as they can so easily keep information hidden from each other.

I think the story picked up the most pace once one of the girls disappears because obviously they’ve never been alone before. Even as a reader its scary to experience her desperation for the other half that should be inhabiting the body.

Nadia is possibly my favourite character for accepting and believing that there is two souls in one body and doing her best to help them when one goes missing.

The realisation something is haunting the girls, perhaps demanding the extra soul adds to the supernatural elements already at play.

Things start going hopelessly out of control and the story has some very spooky moments. I really would not like to enter the Dead House.

Hands down, this is one of my favourite horror’s out there and I’m pretty confidently going to say I’ll read anything by Dawn Kurtagich.

4.5 stars / 5 stars

I intend to read the companion novel at some point.

10 thoughts on “Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich”

  1. Wow, I am glad that this book could make it into one of your top favourite horror reads of all time. It’s cool that you can read this one in different ways as well, that sort of thing interests me. I’m always skeptical of different forms of things in books, like the newspaper snippets and so on. But I am glad you could really enjoy that element of things!

  2. I LOVE THIS NOVEL WITH ALL MY HEART! *Breathes* Okay, but I read this novel about two years ago? And I’ve never found anyone else who’s read it before. When I read it, I could see it both ways. I spent ages trying to work out whether it was magic or mental illness, and do you know, no matter which way I twisted it I couldn’t explain everything that happened. It was impossible! I’d think I had it and then I’d realise that I hadn’t accounted for something.
    …I should probably read it again. And take notes. Lots of notes.

  3. I’ve had this on my shelf for ages but you’ve just bumped it up the TBR list dramatically! Fab review.

    Katie x

  4. I loved this book so much! Like you, I chose to read this book as a supernatural horror, however I was very much aware of the mental health aspect and the idea that severe trauma made the girl develop a second personality. I need to read the companion too. I loved Nadia, and my expectations are pretty high.

  5. Hmm, this sounds a bit dark for me, but I love it when the story includes newspaper cuttings and other material. I enjoyed a book with a ghost story yesterday – The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.

  6. Oh how interesting about the different interpretations. And what a unique premise, about the two souls and one going missing. I could def see how the remaining girl would be freaking out if she’s never been alone. The format sounds unique too! Glad you liked this one!

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