Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn
Published April 21, 2015
While this isn’t my usual kind of book since I typically tend to avoid paranormal horror stories – my imagination tends to run a little wild; however, I did find this book somewhat enjoyable. It was certainly interesting enough and with the right amount of creepiness in it for me to shiver a little every time I pick up the book. That being said, the book wasn’t particularly scary as in I didn’t think of terrible nightmarish things before bed or have nightmares. There was just something about the house that creeped me out.
Lucas Graham, the MC in this book, was not someone I sympathized with. Yes, I understood his writing career had hit a wall but I felt like he didn’t do much to overcome it. He didn’t even consider working another job just to get by and it was to the point that his wife felt that she was the only one providing for the family, he didn’t even spend much time with his daughter, didn’t help out with anything other than sulk and try to come up with a new writing scheme. There could’ve been so many ways he could’ve done something to help out while trying to revive his writing career. And then when the letter from Jeff came, he immediately made a choice of ditching everything and running to Jeff without knowing what he would find at the new home or without even talking to Jeff first. He just saw it as a golden ticket and saw nothing else. He didn’t once consider about his wife or daughter until his wife freaked out on him and told him it was over (smart woman!). He still ended up dragging his daughter with him without asking her what her thoughts were on this situation. I found him incredibly selfish and stupid and honestly, in a way, he deserved what happened at the end.
Talking about the ending, it was a little confusing. Obviously I understood what happened to his daughter but how did the police link absolutely nothing to Lucas? And I get the impression that Jeff succeeded in this scheme because it’s implied with the lady in NYC but it’s not 100%. Rather than the usual happy ending that I get from my usual stash of books, I think this one gave a vague and not the “and they lived happily ever after” ending. It’s certainly different.
The other two “primary” secondary characters – Jeanie and Echo – were a bit typical. Jeanie, Lucas’ daughter, was not super developed. In the beginning, she gave that emo vibe but she wasn’t really emo because she only dressed and acted that way because of her crush. She also kept in touch with her supposedly best friend for the first few chapters then suddenly all communications dropped out. It felt abrupt and it seemed to allow Jeanie to actually become emo and secluded with daddy issues. As for Echo, she was super typical. I was suspicious of her from day one and Lucas was again attracted by the “golden ticket” (i.e. photographs) to really think things through. Such a stupid man.
The one character I was confused about was the security guard – how come he did what he did at the end? I’m still a little confused because there was no mention about any sort of relationship between him and Jeff yet somehow…I don’t know. It’s a bit strange.
Overall, not sure if I would recommend the book – I mainly read it for my NYPL ReadingChallenge. It certainly has the creepy factor down with the haunted house. The flashbacks with Audra was interesting and gave a nice dimension to the plot. But the characters, though, I think that needed a lot of work.