Armageddon House: Michael Griffin
Reviewed By Jamie Goecker
ARMAGEDDON HOUSE was a bit of a departure from my usual reading. It’s a bit of a genre mash-up, leaning more toward sci-fi with a hint of fantasy and horror. I haven’t read many books that fit solely into one of those first two realms, but I have enjoyed horror stories with these elements, so I took a chance on this one, and I was happy with the results.
There were several aspects to this story that I really enjoyed. It hooked me from the beginning as I was dropped into the setting with the protagonist, and then intrigued by the mystery of what was happening to the characters. There are a lot of unknowns in this one, as the protagonist himself doesn’t have all the answers, nor do his companions. I will say that if you don’t like stories with ambiguity and unanswered questions, this may not be the book for you. Sometimes that doesn’t work for me, but it did with this book. It’s a novella, so there’s limited space to tell the story. I felt that the author did a good job with providing just enough information balanced with intrigue that kept me flipping the pages. Once I started, I had to know what was next and my curiosity remained intact from beginning to end. There was solid tension and mistrust between the characters, as well as a sense of isolation and claustrophobia that carried throughout the story, and these aspects contributed to my maintained interest. The book read like a film and I enjoyed that as well.
There wasn’t a lot of time for character development, and while we get a brief sense of who they are, it was hard to connect with the characters because of the unanswered questions. That was a bit of a downside to me, as a strong connection with the characters strengthens my ties to a story, but I understand that this isn’t going to happen with every book I read.
This is a unique story, which I appreciated, and the end left me with more questions. At that point I second-guessed some of my earlier assumptions, and I think if I were to go back and give this a re-read while slowing down the pace, I might discover more answers. Overall I enjoyed the writing and the premise, and I’d read more from this author in the future.
Utopia. Four people living together deep underground in a subterranean facility. All their needs provided for. Food, water, medicine. A swimming pool; a gym; a bar. Except none of them can recall exactly how they came to be there, or what they are supposed to do. Dystopia. Where are the others? There must have been others. It’s a huge facility, after all. It must be some sort of experiment. They’re test subjects. How long have they been there? When will they get out? How come there has been no outside contact? Utopia or dystopia. As the questions mount, so does the tension. Who will escape Armageddon House?
Michael Griffin’s riveting new novella ARMAGEDDON HOUSE grabs you and doesn’t let go. It will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. This is a haunted house of a different sort.
Jamie Goecker is a lifelong night owl and horror lover from Michigan. Her love of spooky things began as a child, when she first noticed that other kids were scared of the movies she treasured. Films such as Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and Return to Oz fascinated her and sparked her imagination. Then came the Goosebumps and Fear Street book series by R.L. Stine, which ignited her love of horror fiction. Outside of her day job, she devotes as much time as possible to reading, reviewing, and her other love—listening to music. When she’s not engaged in those activities, she’s likely cooking, hunting for vintage paperbacks, daydreaming, or exploring the gorgeous local scenery (while also taking photos of books).