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House Of Reckoning

de John Saul

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3231261,923 (3.33)4
Outcast by an injury sustained from her father, foster child Sara Crane befriends a former mental patient and her art teacher and soon creates paintings of long-ago violent crimes committed by the inmates of a local asylum.
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Though I thought the ending was not believable (way too many questions remain) I did enjoy this book. It's definitely a book about the choices that some make that lead them down a path that they may not be willing to follow in the end.

The book jumps back and forth between characters here and there. But one of the main protagonists is 14 year old Sarah Crane. Sarah is still reeling from the loss of her mother and trying to make ends meet while her father steadily drinks himself to death. When his night of drinking leads one man dead and Sarah injured, Sarah is placed in a foster home (that sounds freaking awful). Sarah just focuses on getting by for four years so that she can be free from her foster family. When she only makes friends with the high school art teacher, Bettina Phillips, and Nick Dunnigan who suffers from hallucinations, she wonders if she can really someone survive 4 more years.

Nick finds himself drawn to Sarah since she is able to make the voices in his head stop. But as they grow closer, it seems that Sarah's art is coming to life and Nick has the ability to make things happen.

I thought the characters in this one were really good. You definitely get how Sarah's foster family which is pretty awful gets turned up to 10 when they start yapping about how she and her father are going to hell due to their sins. Frankly, I think I would have runaway from there. But, we know that Sarah is stuck since the home is close to her father's prison, and she wants to be near him.

What I think was great that not everyone was as they seem in this book. I was definitely surprised by some of the reveals that John Saul throws in this one.

And what I think was really good though is that the ending though I thought it was a stretch definitely leaves some of the people in this book to pay for what they have done.

I think it would have been a stronger book if it only switched between Sarah, Nick, and Bettina. When you add in Nick's mom and father, Sarah's father and her adopted parents, kids at school, etc. then the book got to be too much at times. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
REVIEWED: House of Reckoning
WRITTEN BY: John Saul
PUBLISHED: October, 2009

This book was okay. Not great, not terrible, but pretty standard horror fare. Haunted mental asylum, religious fanaticism, and bullied children with paranormal abilities all included within. I didn’t really care for any of the characters, except the father, who was the only one who seemed to have any real depth of feeling. Everybody else was sooo two-dimensional. I hated the decisions that Sarah Crane constantly made. I suppose that was the author’s intent to create outrage over how she is treated, but it was very heavy-handed, so obvious. Outcast child gets picked on the same way, ridiculed the same way, it just seems so trite. The only times she “talked back” were at the most inopportune moments, yet when she really should have voiced a defense of herself, she doesn’t, such as the dog attack scene. There were very few “surprises,” and most everything was easily guessed from the beginning. Finally, when Batina and the children join forces in the house, is when the book becomes satisfying, and the background of the House explored (even if more questions were raised than answered!). However, all the revenges – though gratifying – seemed somewhat systematic. The epilogue broke voice from the rest of the book, but was funny, and seemed the most “fitting” revenge of all. John Saul’s a talented author, but this book just didn’t seem up to the levels of his competency.

Three and a half out of Five stars
( )
  Eric_J._Guignard | Jul 26, 2018 |
High school student Sarah Crane is lamenting the loss of her mother to cancer six months earlier. This tragedy has crippled her father, Ed, and has forced him to seek solace at the bottom of the bottle. And as if things weren't bad enough, his alcohol abuse serves as the catalyst for two horrific events: the manslaughter of a fellow bar patron during a drunken brawl, and the injuring of Sarah in a drunk driving accident. The former deed places Ed in prison and Sarah in foster care. Sarah eventually is taken in by the Garvey family. Ironically, her foster father Mitch happens to be a prison guard where Ed is being held. The Garveys are staunchly (if not hypocritically) religious, and Sarah does not fit in well there. Furthermore, she must face the constant taunts of her new high school classmates, who mock both her permanent limp and her murderer father. The only student with whom she is able to connect is another outcast, Nick Dunnigan, a delusional schizophrenic. Sarah also finds comfort in an art class, taught by a unique character named Miss Bettina Phillips. Bettina resides alone with several dogs and cats in Shutters Mansion, a place that once served as an insane asylum. In eerie fashion, she is able to channel feelings from Bettina's home, and she begins to paint images of Shutters and some of its less-than-friendly past inhabitants. Additionally, while Sarah is painting these unfamiliar images, Nick is having visions of his own that involve acts of violence and terror stemming from the dark heart of the old asylum.

John Saul is at his best when he gets inside the heart and mind of his teenaged characters, and the team of Sarah Crane and Nick Dunnigan firmly represents teen angst at its darkest and most dangerous. This is a perfectly eerie tale presented just in time for the Halloween season. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
The House of Reckoning is a dark story of a haunted house. Not because Ghosts haunt the house, but because the house haunts the living. Whoever steps into the house is now under the influence of the dark and evil power that lives within it. ( )
  velliott73 | May 8, 2016 |
Cliche, cliche, cliche. "As if" is the most used phrase in the book. If you've ever seen any horror movie, it's as if you've already read this novel. ( )
  bohemiangirl35 | Mar 20, 2012 |
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Outcast by an injury sustained from her father, foster child Sara Crane befriends a former mental patient and her art teacher and soon creates paintings of long-ago violent crimes committed by the inmates of a local asylum.

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