Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: The Dollhouse series by Anya Allyn (Dollhouse and Paper Dolls)

Today I am going to be doing reviews on the first 2 books in the Dollhouse series by Anya Allyn, which are Dollhouse and Paper Dolls. I got the first book in the series free on my kindle from (regular $2.99) and the second book I purchased on my kindle for $3.99. As I have stated in a pervious post about free or cheap kindle books, I am always kind of skeptical of reading them because sometimes I don't find them to be as good as regular priced books. I know there are some great books out there that are free and cheap (as I have also stated before) but sometimes they are hard to find. I went into reading Dollhouse without really knowing what it was about other than from when the description said. I did not look at any reviews for it etc, because I wanted to go into it and form my own opinions.

I first off want to say that there is a number of things that I like and also dislike about these books. I rated them each a 3/5 stars on goodreads. I am in no way trying to make this a negative review, but rather I am posting an honest review. Also, I want to forewarn everyone reading that these reviews will probably contain some spoilers, but I will try to keep them as minimal as possible.

Summary from goodreads:

Fifteen year old Aisha disappears in the forests on a school hiking trip. She's the latest in a string of children to vanish there over the past five years. The towns surrounding the forests are on edge and they demand answers. And wildboy Ethan—Aisha's boyfriend—is on the run after he and his grandfather are blamed for Aisha's disappearance.

Cassie is just about the only friend Ethan has left. She's been secretly in love with him ever since her mother dragged her to the wilds of Australia from Florida six months ago. 

Desperate to prove Ethan's innocence, Cassie searches the forests with Ethan to find out what really happened to Aisha. But Ethan's growing strangely silent, and Cassie's left questioning if her feelings for him are clouding her judgment. 

Cassie discovers a dark secret lurking in the heart of the forests; a secret world of nightmarish horrors—where nothing is as it seems, where the supernatural invades your soul, where the people she trusted most might be the people she can trust the least, and where escape exists only in dreams.

This book is definitely the most strangest, weird, twisted book I have ever read. I don't know at this point if it was a good thing or a bad thing. I seriously spent 80% of the time while reading this book sitting there thinking "Wait, what?". It got really confusing sometimes and the writing in it was very choppy.

As you can tell from the description, A girl named Aisha disappears in a forest on a school hiking trip while she is with her friends. The Last person who went to look for her is her boyfriend Ethan, so right away all fingers point to him for her disappearance. The story is told from Cassie's POV, who is a friend of Ethan and Aisha. She really wants to try to prove that Ethan is innocent (or is he?) so her and her friend Lacey (another friend of theirs) set out in the forest to try to find Aisha. So basically, all of the characters get thrown into this nightmare world that is sick and twisted, and yada yada. This was nothing like I expected it to be, and I was really shocked when I learned where the title Dollhouse came from.

The first chapter of this book caught my attention pretty well, but throughout the story it went really slow. It picks up towards the middle of the book, but then slows down again. So this book was really up and down for me. I felt like the pace couldn't get comfortable. The writing style of this book was really choppy. I felt like I was constantly having to go and re read a lot of the sentences because they just didn't make sense or seemed out of place. This whole book left a lot of questions unanswered and that bothered me a lot. The characters seemed kind of empty in the beginning and we didn't really get to know them very well. Some things that were talked about seemed unnecessary and didn't have a point to them. The characters in this book are 15 years old, and a lot of the stuff that happens seems really unlikely for them. Like really, are two 15 year old girls going to camp out in the woods for a week, while trying to find their disappeared friend, and they both convinced their parents they were going on a school trip over break right after their friend went missing in the woods? No.

I didn't find the characters in this book to be anything special. They all kind of seemed to run together and had similar personalities. Cassie, the main character was okay. I did sort of like Ethan in the beginning but I'm not sure how I felt about him in the end, and now I'm even more confused about him after finishing book two. I did enjoy Jessamines character for some reason though, even if she was 'one of the bad guys.'

A thing that I did like about this book was its originality. I have never read anything like this book before, not even remotely close. I still am not sure if that is a good or bad thing but I do have to give the author credit for the originality of this book. The parts that weren't slow, I was actually really engaged in the book and I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. I read each of these books really fast, I read them in 2 days (so 4 days total). The ending totally leaves you hanging, so I have to start reading the next book right away. If the ending didn't leave me having, would I have picked up the 2nd book? Probably not.

Now let's get onto my review for the second book, Paper Dolls. There will probably be some spoilers in this second review.

Summary from goodreads:

Book Two of the Dollhouse Trilogy

Cassie discovers the truth behind the existence of the dollhouse– leading up to a terrifying revelation about herself, one that will challenge every last thread of her sanity.

This book picks up right where the first book left off and leaves you hanging. There is a lot of action in the beginning, but it slows right down afterwards. The writing style was still a little choppy, but it wasn't as bad as the first book. I still had to re read a lot of stuff because it just didn't make sense a lot of the time. There was still a lot of things that happened and a lot of unanswered questions like the first book as well. However, this book did answer some of the unanswered questions from the first book, but then again it left new questions that weren't answered. I don't know if that makes sense LOL.

In this book, some parts flashed back to the past in the 1920s and was from Jessamines POV, which I loved because we really get to see who she was as a person, before everything that happened to her and it was different from the Jessamine we got to know in book one.

Like the description says, Cassie is trying to discover the truth behind the existence of the Dollhouse and she learns a lot of things about herself and the world around her. She is having a hard time coping with all that she went through, and so are the other characters. It felt a little bit of sympathy for her, but at the same time, she makes a lot of stupid decisions in this book with trusting the wrong people. I just wanted to yell stupid, stupid, stupid and her a lot of the time.

This ending also leaves you hanging, and it was probably the most confusing ending I have ever read in a book. I still don't understand what happened even after reading it multiple times. I really hate not understanding something in a book, it frustrates me.

All in all, I rated these books each a 3/5 stars. They had a unique story line in them, but the writing style didn't work for me because it was too choppy, messy and seemed all over the place. I will probably continue reading the series when the next book comes out some time this year. I don't mean for this review to be negative or too critical, but I am just being honest and these are my own opinions. If anyone reading this review has read these books, I would love to know your thoughts on them!

Thank you all for reading my reviews and I hope you enjoyed them!


  1. I agree completely on book 1, Dollhouse. I can't afford book 2 yet, but I can't wait till I can read it or find somebody to borrow it from. I feel stuck in real life not knowing what's going on, although knowing a 3rd is coming out, I probably still won't know what's going on for a while. Your review stated what I had a hard time phrasing. Thank you for your honesty! :)

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! This book was kind of difficult to review because I had to refrain from ranting about all the weird stuff in it LOL!!