Review: The Night House by Jo Nesbø


Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Knoph (October 3, 2023)

From In the wake of his parents’ tragic deaths in a house fire, fourteen-year-old Richard Elauved has been sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the remote, insular town of Ballantyne. Richard quickly earns a reputation as an outcast, and when a classmate named Tom goes missing, everyone suspects the new, angry boy is responsible for his disappearance. No one believes him when he says the telephone booth out by the edge of the woods sucked Tom into the receiver like something out of a horror movie. No one, that is, except Karen, a beguiling fellow outsider who encourages Richard to pursue clues the police refuse to investigate. He traces the number that Tom prank-called from the phone booth to an abandoned house in the Mirror Forest. There he catches a glimpse of a terrifying face in the window. And then the voices begin to whisper in his ear . . .

She’s going to burn. The girl you love is going to burn. There’s nothing you can do about it.

When another classmate disappears, Richard must find a way to prove his innocence—and preserve his sanity—as he grapples with the dark magic that is possessing Ballantyne and pursuing his destruction.

Then again, Richard may not be the most reliable narrator of his own story . . .


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I'm going to be honest here, this book took me the better part of October to finish because I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it. There was just a lot happening and NONE of it was particularly good or interesting. In fact, the first two parts of the book felt like a bad acid trip. 

To begin with, and I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here from the amount of other people who have said this, but the sheer amount of fat-shaming, homophobia and sexism happening in this book is appalling. The writing also seemed a bit .... immature. Like the author was aiming for a younger target audience, but considering the nature of this novel HAD to market it for adults instead. 

Added to that, Richard was the kind of character that is just so irredeemable that as a reader, I just didn't care what happened to him which added to my overall dislike of the book. After all, it's hard to be invested in a story when you hate the main character.

But then the ending and that "twist?" After all of the time I spent slogging through this story in the hopes it would get better, it felt more like a slap in the face than anything else. There were also some other issues that I don't feel comfortable mentioning (and are spoilers) that made this entire thing unpalatable for me. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                             The Night House is available on

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