Happy Friday, friends! I’m back today with a bullet-point review of a book I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. I love good surprises, don’t you?
Derek Milman, Scream All Night, Published by Balzer + Bray, July 24th, 2018.
Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.
But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.
With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?
- Right from the synopsis, I knew this would deal with family a whole lot, and I was not disappointed on that part. I really loved the focus on family overall, how Dario, coming back after a while, tried to find his marks again and I really appreciated seeing him and his brother’s very complex relationship develop on the page.
- Talking about family, a heads-ups is needed: this book definitely deals with a very dysfunctional family. It also deals with abuse, something that Dario faced in his childhood and is still dealing with its consequences. I didn’t expect the story to deal with such a hard theme, but it did it in a brilliant way, because….
- Well, Scream All Night is a very strange, very absurd kind of book. In a good way! Why, you ask? There’s the setting. This book is set for the most part in studios, where they shoot horror movies. Absurd horror movies. Obviously, this happens too in the book and well, from crazy scenarios to crazier situations and encounters, that made this book a very entertaining, very surprising read.
- Then, you get Oren, Dario’s brother – he’s creative, he is a bit lost in in own world and definitely contributed to that absurd part of the book, too.
- And you get incredible character development in this story, as Dario faces his past and what happened to him, takes matter and his future into his own hands and everything else. I loved that so, very much.
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- I wasn’t totally on board with the little romance we get in that story, but only because I feel like it was a bit rushed. If the two protagonists knew each other when they were little, before Dario left, it was years ago and I feel like they could have taken a beat to, I don’t know, get reaquainted a little bit. But that’s just a personal preference.
- It’s kind of a shame that the beginning of this book has some problematic content, but I think that’s important to mention. In the first chapter, there is a bit of homophobia and a joke about sexual assault and that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I was glad I kept on reading, but still that wasn’t totally okay for me.
Scream All Night was a surprise – I didn’t expect to have such a fun time while reading it, especially knowing that it was marketed as a horror kind of book. It’s not really, despite the setting as a whole, this book really focuses a whole lot more on family, with great character development as a whole which made me have a fun time reading it.
Final rating: 3,5 drops!
The biggest thanks to the author for sending me an e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, affect my opinion and this review.
Trigger warnings: abuse, mental illness, drug use, miscarriage.
Do you want to read Scream All Night? Why, or why not?
Do you know other stories with dysfunctional, complex families? Let me know in comments!