18 October 2020

Review || The House That Fell From the Sky by Patrick Delaney



When twenty-nine-year-old Scarlett Vantassel comes to the conclusion that her life doesn’t resemble any of the things she actually wanted for herself, she drops out of school and moves back home, attempting to reconnect with the people she left behind. But a shadow falls over her return one early October morning when a sinister house miraculously appears in the center of the city, sparking a media frenzy that attracts attention nationwide.

Soon after the newspapers label it, "The House that Fell from the Sky," Scarlett’s childhood friend Hannah becomes obsessed with the idea that the house holds the key to discovering whether there really is life after death. Undeterred by her friends' numerous warnings, Hannah becomes increasingly consumed with the desire to enter the house, convinced it would allow her to reconnect with her recently deceased mother.

Despite a series of escalating events suggesting that the house may be more dangerous than anyone ever thought possible, a privately owned company seizes control of the property and hosts a lottery to lure the city’s residents, promising the winners a large cash reward if they dare to enter the house.

To Scarlett’s horror, Hannah uses her vast wealth to secure a spot among the winners to gain access to the house. Now, it’s up to Scarlett, her older brother Tommy, and her friend Jackson to face their fears and journey into a place where nothing is ever quite as it seems, and decide if they can help a friend in need, or if Hannah truly is lost. 

   

The House That Fell From the Sky sounds intriguing and certainly starts strongly. Scarlett is with her father when strange things start happening; A strange hum, booming noises,  flashes of light, a coldness settling over everything. All of this happens within the first pages as does the discovery of the house that appeared from nowhere and could have simply fallen from the sky. Only no one can access the house as it seems to choose when and who can access its interior and those that do come out changed. 

Imagine my surprise then when nothing happens with the house for a year. It just sits there. After the exciting first chapter, the first half of the book focuses on Scarlett, her friends, and what journeys they took to get them to this place and time. However, the timeline of the story is not linear which I found distracting. I just wanted them to hurry up and get in the house already! The back and forth time jumps exploring the characters' relationships were intended to serve the purpose of securing an emotional attachment to the characters but left me impatient instead. 

Then comes the actual house. Its massive Gothic facade covers several city blocks. With "menacing" verandas and "pallid" eaves, there seems to be an attempt to anthropomorphize the house. I feel like the author really missed his calling as an architect. Onion domes and Cyclopean masonry--the descriptions are lengthy and wordy to the point of tediousness. Every new room explored inside the house  involves description upon description. While, yes, we want to be shown what they are seeing, the focus on crown molding was unstimulating. 

The House That Fell From the Sky unfortunately fell flat for me. The idea is fascinating but I didn't find myself caring about the characters or cheering them on to win, except for Vincent the magician. There's potential for real horror here, but it's lost under all the copious amount of filler.