The World House by Guy Adams. Angry Robot '7.99
Reviewed by Selina Lock
The House contains a world outside our own, full of terrors and nightmares, from lethal games of snakes and ladders to cannibals in the greenhouse. A wide range of protagonists, including a 1920s debutante, a Victorian adventurer and a Florida school teacher accidentally find themselves trapped in the House. How can they escape? Will they even survive?
The book opens with Miles, an antiques dealer, being threatened with having his legs broken and soon finds him paralysed and being attacked by strange beasts. This gives you a good impression of the kinds of hell Adams will put his characters through. Of course the characters are so well realised that you care about what happens to them, and feel their pain. Adams does an excellent job of imbuing his characters with life. For example, you know Sophie is not an ordinary child, due to her love of rules, facts, order and that she likes 'her toast ' medium, brown, plain, no butter or jam or Marmite or honey or anything, plain... toaster setting four', without having to ascribe a label to her. The characters provide much of the humour in the book, with their actions and reactions to an impossible world. They're also the source of some of the biggest revelations and twists.
The story takes you on a roller-coaster ride of dark adventure, never knowing what the House will throw at the characters next, and how (or if) they're going to beat the odds. This is a complex book, jumping between times, locations and characters, but it keeps you in its grip all the way through, and leaves you wanting more.[...]