Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tag Team Review - The Gathering (Shadow House #1)

I want to welcome everyone to my very first Tag Team Review.  When my friend Stormi realized we were both planning to read Hunter Shea's "The Jersey Devil" she suggested we create this new feature for our blogs.  Stormi got the idea from Laura from FUONLYKNEW and Sherry at Fundinmental who graciously allowed us to create out own tag as well.  Thanks guys! Stormi and I enjoyed doing this so much last month, it didn't take long for us to to do another Tag Team Readalong!  Be sure to check out Stormi's review at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!  I can't wait to see what she thought about this one.

TITLE: The Gathering (Shadow House #1)
AUTHOR: Dan Poblocki
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PUBLISHING DATE: August 30, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: 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.

MY THOUGHTS: For some reason, I had the hardest time getting through this book. Maybe I thought since it was horror and middle grade to boot, it would be an easy read, but that simply wasn't the case this time around. I need to start out by giving this book its props. The physical copy is exceptional. There is a super scary window feature on the cover, inside in some of the chapters are dark, creepy photos of Shadow House as well as its inhabitants, and the pages themselves are done in gray with a charred look around the edges. Also, there is no dust jacket which I ADORE. In addition, I'm so glad to be seeing middle grade and young adult horror. It just wasn't around much when I was that age and middle grade me probably would have loved this book back then.

Sadly to say though, for me the story fell somewhat flat. There are 5 main characters - Poppy, Marcus, Azumi and Dylan and Dash, a set of twins. Each receive a request to come to The Shadow House all on different pretenses. The chapters shifted around from the points of view of all of these individuals and I didn't think there was much happening in the book until about 2/3 of the way through. Also, I never felt a real connection to any of these characters (which partly could have been because I was not its intended audience) and found myself wishing someone would die - and personally I had no preference of which character bit the dust.

I will say the author did throw a pretty decent twist toward the end of the book which sort of caught me off guard and which sort of intrigued me, so that, coupled with the props listed above, greatly influenced my 3/5 rating. This book also really has no ending so it's a good thing the second one comes out in December (or at least I think it does - yep, it does, I just checked...December 27th). I might be curious to pick it up because the cover looks just as creepy and because I really do want to know how it ends, but this isn't really a book where I finished it and immediately thought "I need the next one now."

If you like horror and enjoy middle grade, AND if you appreciate beautiful physical copies, than this book might be one you want to consider. I also think it would be a great book to read with your middle-grader this Halloween season. It's not an expensive book and there is a cool interactive app which might also be enjoyable by a younger crowd.



  1. We gave this about the same rating I was only a half star higher. :) Not a fan of the ending and I do want to see how it ends.

  2. I'm curious about this one, Barb. I wonder if the second book will grab you more. That sometimes happens as the author is busy introducing characters in the first one.

  3. I hate it when I have a hard time getting into a book. I do love the fact that it is a horror for middle grades. I had to laugh when I read that you were wishing someone would die - that can't be good. Great review!