Source Received from the publisher
Published by Hyperion Avenue on October 4, 2022
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Of all the things aspiring artist Haven Marbury expected to find while clearing out her late father’s remote seaside house, Bedtime Stories for Monsters was not on the list. This secret handwritten manuscript is disturbingly different from his Pulitzer-winning works: its interweaving short stories crawl with horrific monsters and enigmatic humans that exist somewhere between this world and the next. The stories unsettle but also entice Haven, practically compelling her to illustrate them while she stays in the house that her father warned her was haunted. Clearly just dementia whispering in his ear . . . right?
Reeling from a failed marriage, Haven hopes an illustrated Bedtime Stories can be the lucrative posthumous father-daughter collaboration she desperately needs to jump-start her art career. However, everyone in the nearby vacation town wants a piece of the manuscript: her father’s obsessive literary salon members, the Ink Drinkers; her mysterious yet charming neighbor, who has a tendency toward three a.m. bonfires; a young barista with a literary forgery business; and of course, whoever keeps trying to break into her house. But when a monstrous creature appears under Haven’s bed right as grisly deaths are reported in the nearby woods, she must race to uncover dark, otherworldly family secrets―completely rewriting everything she ever knew about herself in the process.
I love books about books and writing, especially when there’s a spooky element to the story, so Malice House seemed right up my alley!
Despite my initial excitement, this was a slow start for me and took me a long time to really get into. There were so many elements of this story that ticked the boxes for me (including a found manuscript, things that go bump in the night, bootlegged horror movies, mysterious and gruesome deaths), but the execution of it all just wasn’t quite right for me.
The pacing felt very slow and dragged for me at times, and I thought the reveal View Spoiler » was not very interesting.
But there were things that I really liked about the story (including Haven, her relationship with the mysterious neighbour, and some big family secrets) and it offered a lot of food for thought in terms of writing, creation, and the nature of ideas and inspiration. So I have very mixed feelings about this book. The things that worked for me really worked, and the things that didn’t really didn’t.