Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.
But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?
-- From Goodreads
This cover threw me off a little bit, only because the cellar steps in the picture look like something out of a castle. Still, it does match the mood of the story!
Poor Heather and Meredith. Clearly this is going to be a tough story for them.
To write a really fantastic horror driven book I really believe that you have to love the genre. So of course when I heard that A.J. Whitten was a horror movie buff I was excited to read this book! Who better to regale me with truly terrifying thoughts and gory scenes than someone who loves the genre as much as I do? I'll admit that I was a little skeptical about the addition of the Romeo and Juliet theme. How on earth could they tie that in to a book like this? That just made me all the more eager to dive right in.
From the very beginning The Cellar draws you right in. Setting up the family relationship, pitting the sisters against one another, and then bringing in the mysterious Adrien. Let me tell you, from the moment Adrien showed up in the book I knew he was bad news. A.J. Whitten manages to build this aura around him that, without even knowing quite why, you are wary of him. I love that in a good horror book! Adrien's character drew me further in and I knew that I was in for a ride.
Now, here's where I have to interject a little bit about what prevented this book from in my absolute favorites. I was so smitten with everything that was going on, until the history behind Adrien came into focus. I'll try to explain this without giving anything away, but it might be a bit vague. I liked that Adrien had an emotional side to him that made him more human. However, I think that the middle section of the story was kind of slow because of it. I understand that A.J. Whitten was trying to build that human aspect so that Heather's romance made sense, I really do. However I was hoping for more of the horror driven scenes I was craving. I wasn't aware, I think, of how much romance was truly present in this book.
That being said, I'm still going to stick to my guns and say that this book really impressed me! Anyone that can tie together romance and horror has a spot in my heart. Throw in some references to Romeo and Juliet, and I'm sure that this book is going to be a big hit when it finally hits shelves. For those of you who are expecting a more gory and disturbing book (think The Monstromologist), you'll probably enjoy this book like I did but want to go elsewhere for your horror fix.
Title: The Cellar
Author: A.J. Whitten
Pages: Paperback; 276
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
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