Come On Up to the House by Dane Cobain – For Getting Your Quick Horror Fix
Whether a book is engaging or not depends on two things – one, how much is the book competent in the skill of engagement; and two, the state of the mind of the reader.
According to me, the state of mind of the reader is as much relevant to the experience as the competence of the book. I read a book recently which was reviewed quite well at Goodreads. As I read it, I found the characters to be relatable, plot to be intriguing and language to be charming. Except that the protagonist was too good; she was guilt driven and always kept the wish of others above her own. The author meant for readers to sympathize with the character. At the starting of the book, I somehow endured the protagonist. But because of the state of mind I was in, I started loathing this lady. I felt she was weak and I could ignore her “sacrifice her happiness for other” kind of behaviour no more. And hence, a 4-star rated book couldn’t engage me.
My state of mind was absolutely on point when I read Come On Up to the House by Dane Cobain.
I received a copy of this book from the author himself in exchange for an honest review. Being my first gig in London, I was quite excited about the book. There was another reason for my excitement; Come On Up to the House was a horror novella and I love horror. I do get scared reading and watching horror but I still love it. And it had been a while (like 6-years-long while) since I had read a horror book.
The day before I started reading the book, I had a really long conversation with a friend about paranormal experiences. Our talk lingered around the probability or improbability of such an episode and ended with a question in our mind – “what if?”
It was the very next day that I read Come On Up to the House. Being a novella, the story flowed at a good pace. And because of my afternoon chat, I was in the best state of mind to savour the book.
“Doesn’t life seem nasty, brutish and short?
This horror novella and accompanying screenplay tells the story of Darran Jersey, a troubled teenager who moves into a house that’s inhabited by the malevolent spirit of his predecessor. As time goes by and the family begins to settle, Darran begins to take on more and more of the qualities of James, the dead teenager who committed a bloody suicide.
As tragedy after tragedy threatens to destroy the family, Darran’s mother Alice decides to leave the house behind and start afresh, but is it too late? Find out when you Come On Up to the House.”
(quoted from the book)
What Did I Enjoy?
Come On Up to the House is a novella and is just 100 pages long. This means that you can finish it in one sitting or in just few hours.
The plot of the book revolves around a new family moving in a cursed house. Though the plot is not novel in horror genre, it is still a compelling plot. Moving into a new house and the apprehensions that come along with it is something that almost everyone can relate to. I remember within the first fortnight of our moving to London, Mr B had to travel for work. Being alone in the house at that initial phase got the best of me and I wondered it for days if everything was ‘fine’ with the house. Because I was able to relate to the plot, the book did give me the creeps.
What Could Have Made it Better?
When I read a book, I like knowing my characters well. I like to know their likes and dislikes, their peculiar habits and their strength and weaknesses. I like knowing them thoroughly enough so that I can feel as if I have a connection with them or if I have met them in real life.
There are seven characters in the story – a ghost, a husband and a wife and their three children who move into the house and a neighbour. And I was not able to connect with any one of them. The character, especially of Darran, could have been given more depth.
What Was the Best?
A horror story is going to succeed in sending chill down readers’ spines only if it can manage to paint a terrorizing gory picture. Come On Up to the House did a fair job of it. Most of the scenes are well described and I was able to imagine those clearly in my head. Nuances like the smell in the room, the taste of blood and the sight of the ghost are detailed and well sketched through words.
Is The Book for You?
The book has its limitations; however, it has its strengths as well. If you are looking for a quick horror fix, this book is for you. If you are new to horror genre and are looking for an initiation, this book is for you. The book has the same story written in two formats – novella and screenplay, so you can indulge in whichever one is your favourite.
Here’s the Goodreads link to the book Come On Up to the House.