This book was absolutely wild from start to finish, and I loved it.
The Ash House is the kind of middle grade horror/thriller that I just eat up. The suspense and mystery that Walker weaved into this tale kept me hooked all the way to the end. So many mysteries I needed to know the answer to, and while not all of them where answered a vast majority of them where. Please don’t believe the other reviews where they are like “It was never stated how Sol got to the Ash House” because, yes, yes it was. It requires a little bit of reading comprehension but yes the book does allude to how exactly he got there and its just as dark and disturbing as the rest of the content in this book.
The content of this book has everything from death, child abuse, animal attacks, to children being brainwashed and controlled through the teachings of “niceness”, it very much screams cult. It doesn’t shy around children being harmed, because it does happen and it happens often and it is not glossed over, so if that’s not your jam than I would skip this book.
The story mainly follows Sol the new boy at the Ash House and Dom, one of the boys who has always lived at the Ash House. Sol learns about the “niceness” but along the way many of his encounters with the other kids don’t exactly scream “niceness” even though they all believe they are being nice. There is a very deranged kind of thought process to what is “nice” and what is “nasty” in these kids minds based off their teachings by the Headmaster. Eventually a character called the Doctor shows up and Sol’s time at the Ash becomes even more frightful. When this Doctor showed up and he started playing a big role in the story I was left multiple times with my mouth hanging open going “noooooo. are you serious? what the heck!” Walker really built up this character and the fear he created within the children.
The story is split into two pov chapters, there where a few times when you couldn’t tell the difference between the two point of views, but towards the end they really started to show their differences. Along the way Sol meets others kids of the Ash House such a Libby and Con. Con really grew on me throughout the story, he was the one character who I felt like had the most character growth while Dom was actually the one who frustrated me the most. I don’t hate the boy he just frustrated me but I understand a lot of his character. He always thought he was doing the “niceness” but a lot of the time he was just making very poor decisions but again I understand why, his whole world was thrown out of wack because of Sol arriving and the Headmaster leaving. Although I do wish we had gotten a better understanding as to why the Headmaster was important to him.
I do wish more background had been giving on The Headmaster and The Doctor, while I can make some assumptions about them and while one of the biggest reveals involving them (which I will not state) blew my mind, I do wish we had gotten more solid information on them. While I love making up my own ideas and theories, the way the story was built up I feel a true explanation would have really hit the ball out of the park for this, and this goes for the Ash House itself. Do I know what the Ash House is exactly, no, because that is one of the mysteries that is not answered but I do have some of my own theories as to what it could have been. There are small moments when the characters are in the house that lean towards possible answers as to what the house originally was, but again we were never given a solid answer.
The end of the story is where I was most disappointed. Its a very open and ambiguous ending that honestly feels to like a sequel could follow. (Look I want a sequel!!) There are still certain mysteries that weren’t solved and a very very big one at the end that for me, needs to be addressed.
In the end The Ash House was suspenseful, creepy and down right addicting!