Released just in time for Halloween, Slade House follows along the lines of Guillermo del Toro’s latest film Crimson Peak, with its central character being the house in question.
At first appearing somewhat seductive, tucked away from the view of most people who pass by, Slade House instead becomes all but a prison for those who find it and make the awful mistake of, for one reason or another, wishing to enter or be lured into its premises. First to (no doubt) regret making such a decision is Nathan, a young boy who is accompanying his mother. The appearance of Jonah around the same time seems, at first, completely normal as he strikes up a friendship of sorts with his visitor, but as the story unfolds, it seems and soon becomes apparent that he, like the house, holds many secrets and it’s not long before the mother and son fall victim to the dark entities that linger within the building.
All the characters within Slade House offer up something for readers to identify with. For instance, Nathan is a young boy obeying his mother despite having no desire to do so and the policeman who later suffers the same fate as him is extremely materialistic. In most stories, this might work against the plot, but in Slade House, it is in fact one of the better aspects. Those who suffer at the hands of the house and its inhabitants are individuals you can’t help but will to escape the hell they’ve found themselves in. Alas, they don’t and as Jonah and his twin sister Norah, the soul-searching (and sucking) ‘atemporals’ require a new life-force every nine years in order to survive, they are served up as a power source for the rather menacing, disturbing siblings.
I won’t spoil how the story ends and instead say that it is the closing chapters of the book which make for the most interesting and intriguing read with the odd twist and turn that I for one didn’t see coming.
Certainly when it comes to reading material to set you slightly on edge, there are far worse books than this one. However, given the success and popularity of The Turn Of The Screw and The Mysteries Of Udolpho, books which have long since stood the test of time, anyone hoping for a real horror story or a book to make you wary of reading in low light, with howling winds causing branches to knock menacingly at your windows for instance are likely to be somewhat disappointed by this.