Friday, July 22, 2016

Book review - Tales From the Haunted Mansion

Title: Tales From the Haunted Mansion: The Fearsome Foursome
Author: John Espisito
Genre: horror
Similar books: A Dog's Breakfast by Annie Graves
                     The Doll Graveyard by Lois Ruby
not particularly scary

Summary(provided by publisher): Welcome, foolish mortals, to Disney Press' spookiest chapter book series yet: Tales from the Haunted Mansion! Based on the attractions from the Disney Parks, each new book tells the story of one of the Haunted Mansion's 999 ghosts. With eerie illustrations throughout and a beautiful three-piece cloth cover, the books are designed to look like they came straight from the library in the Haunted Mansion.
Tales from the Haunted Mansion is a fun, spooky ride, just like the attraction from the Disney Parks. And if readers are familiar with the ride, they'll see elements of it throughout the entire story, from items straight of the Mansion (are those pictures stretching?) to lyrics from the narration that is heard in each Doom Buggy.
In this bone-chilling book, you will hear the terrifying tales of the Fearsome Foursome--four kids who look to out-scare each other. But just wait until they hear my spooky stories. Who am I? I am Amicus Arcane, your librarian and host. Your Ghost Host. So read on... if you dare!

My opinion: My first reaction to this book is mild boredom. It's neither scary nor surprising. There's an emotional distance throughout that keeps the reader from really caring about the plot. Without jump scares or strong sense of atmosphere we really have to care about the characters and their welfare for monsters to be truly scary. The emotional distance is not helped by narrative asides that pull us out of the moment every few pages. These were meant to add to the spooky atmosphere. Mostly I found them annoying. Add in a style that consistently tells more than it shows. True fans of horror needn't bother with this one.
Advanced reader copy provided by NetGalley.

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