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Dollhouse (The Dark Carousel Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Anya Allyn
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (402 customer reviews)

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A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war? Learn more | See more teen and young adult books

Book Description

A spine-tingling Gothic Thriller

An abandoned mansion, deep in the woods. A dollhouse, filled with life-sized toys. A doorway into other realms. And girls who keep disappearing...

When Cassie's best friend, Aisha, vanishes during a school hike, Cassie sets off with Aisha's boyfriend and their friend Lacey, determined to find her. Instead, the three teens fall into a carefully-laid trap--deep into the surreal nightmare and dark secrets of the Dollhouse.
Now, Cassie must uncover the mysteries of the Dollhouse and her own connection to it-- before it's too late.

With the horror and otherworldliness of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, the gothic romance of A Great and Terrible Beauty, and the thrill of American Horror Story,Dollhouse is a tantalizing start to The Dark Carousel series.

Dollhouse, the first book of The Dark Carousel series was released in May 2014 by Paper Lantern Lit (Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer).

Editorial Reviews


"Something happens to you when you read this. You will be changed. It's. Just. That. Amazing." 
--Nancy Holder, NYTimes Best-selling Author of UNLEASHED  and  BUFFY: THE MAKING OF A SLAYER
"Anya Allyn sets the stage slowly but surely, establishing her characters first before things begin to fall apart and go awry. It's a tricky feat, but once the novel hits its stride, the adventure, mystery and heart-palpitating drama are non-stop.
If you're a fan of real psychological thrillers and stories that will keep you thinking,Dollhouse is the perfect novel for you!
Melissa Helmers, I SWIM FOR OCEANS
This book is scary, even if it doesn't try to be. Some of the imagery is so well-described, and so twisted, that it scared me to the bone. It's gothic horror at its finest, never gross, never grotesque, but atmospheric and creepy all the same.
Dollhouse is a sinister and twisted read that will haunt your dreams and star in your nightmares. It's a surrealist funhouse, complete with humans used like marionettes, gigantic, vicious dolls, and a carnivalesque sense of the magical and unreal. Dollhouse is the sort of book that compels you to sleep with the lights on and mistrust the shadows, to dart your eyes around the room, suddenly suspicious and uncertain of your surroundings. Eerie, mysterious, and creepy at its core, Dollhouse is horror at its finest.

From the Author

The continuing mysteries of the Dollhouse story spans across a set of 4 books. The books tell the saga of a deep, dark set of mysteries, with the reader journeying with Cassie as she pieces together the terrifying truth. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 4950 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Publisher: The Studio, a Paper Lantern Lit imprint (May 20, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IY6QXN0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,565 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth and wonderfully executed May 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anya Allyn's Doll House begins with a suspenseful, teasing prologue about a trio of youngsters exploring an underground passage in search of their missing forth member. I'll admit to a distinct fondness for the 'in medas res' beginning and in this case it was executed perfectly; the setting and delicately woven prose caught my attention right away, and I could tell within a few pages that I was going to like this story. The prologue was neither too short nor too long... just long enough to grab you and drag you in and no longer. Right in the Goldilocks zone and with a spoonful of delicious plot teases to keep me interested.

So, my appetite whet, I started this novel cautious but impressed and, just like the three kids in the prologue, I began my journey into the Doll House.

The first chapter cuts back to an earlier time and there was a distinct, but subtle, mood shift here. Now we were watching through a somewhat jealous schoolgirl's eyes as the boy of her dreams asks out someone else. Now things started to get a little... worrying. I'm a "oh God thirty is coming" male and I write sci-fi with heaps of swearing, so I kind of prefer that kind of thing when I read. Getting into the head of a fifteen year old schoolgirl is fairly difficult for me, but I felt Doll House made it easy. The prose in this section was very impressive, an improvement over even the already excellent prologue, so my looming fears that I was going to become bored were swiftly waylaid. In fact, if anything, I felt Anya found her stride in this first chapter which meant my reviewer brain rose to the challenge and kicked into brutal mode.

Because of my preference towards swearing, violence and aliens I tend to cut Young Adult authors a fair bit of slack when I review.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars no ending - abrupt cut off of story December 29, 2013
By A. Wing
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One huge pet peeve of mine is the trend towards authors not finishing their books before they publish them. It irks me so much I won't read any other works by an author who does that. Authors, take note: many of us do not appreciate a "bait" book that requires us to buy more books to finish the story you felt you didn't need to end before starting the next installment. I don't mind a cliffhanger, but you MUST have an appropriate conclusion for EACH book. I won't even comment on the rest of the "novel.". Just... Don't waste your time. Gah. What's the point?
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Dolls May 31, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I said before...Dang! I received this as an ARC from the author. She warned me it was going to be dark and a bit scary, and having read many a scary book I wasn't bothered. I should say I wasn't bothered until I was reading, the house was quiet, the story got really moving and I kept hearing the "bumps" in the night! Instead of putting down until daylight, I hunkered in and kept on going, because this was a glorious carnival ride of fun!

The setting is Australia, Barrington Tops, New South Wales. Think lush forests and lots of water. A group of friends get together and work on a school project that should best their peers efforts. One goes missing, one gets fingers pointed at him, and two don't know which way is up or down. They all end up, some months later, back out in the forest looking for her. Now this is where things get creepy. I really don't want to say too much because I don't want to give the story away, but the creepy carnival feel comes out in full effect. Supersize dolls that move on their own, painted doll faces, oversize furniture, underground rooms, missing girls, dark rooms, and paranormal creepiness. The ending will have your jaw dropping too.

This is book one in the Doll House trilogy, which is interesting, because this book could work as a standalone. I can't wait to see where the author, Anya Allyn, goes with her story. For more information, check out the Doll House website at
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47 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not for anyone December 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Frequently when I don't like a book I can see why it wasn't a good fit for me and I know who it might be a good fit for instead. This was not one of those books.

I read a lot of reviews before buying this so I knew the beginning would drag, but it turns out the dragging never stops. I only even finished because I paid for the book and wasn't gonna waste the 99 cents.

Even knowing about the pacing problems, I went in for the creepy factor. The dollhouse premise (or what I thought was the premise) appealed to me. Unfortunately the supernatural elements were drowned under the monotony of dollhouse life and the very real dangers of malnutrition and starvation, leaving the story severely lacking in substance. There was so much that could have been used well - the circus relics, the underground atmosphere - but anything worth describing was described once and then left alone.

People have praised the writing but the best prose in the world (which this certainly wasn't, though I admit it had its moments) can't overcome the constant spelling and grammar errors in Dollhouse. They were the kind I could look past if it happened once or even a handful of times but I don't think I made it through two pages without running into one.

There was also nothing to make me see why this particular narrator was chosen. What makes her so special that she's the one to hinge the story on? I imagine, based on a couple of clumsily delivered clues, that's what the second book is for but I really don't care - not about the story and definitely not about the heroine. She started off unlikeable and only faded as a character instead of growing.

If you're looking for a creepy, living-doll story this is not it. If you're looking for a story with dull characterization and a nonsensical premise with supernatural elements clumsily slapped on, then by all means buy this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Strange Series Beginner
If you're looking for a creepy read, you're going to want to pick up Dollhouse. While I found it a little over the top at times, it is definitely a book that keeps you curious and... Read more
Published 1 day ago by ReadMyBreathAway
3.0 out of 5 stars Dollhouse is a fun read. However
Entertaining and very, very creepy, Dollhouse is a fun read. However, characters doing stupid things for no reason is of my biggest pet peeves, so no five or even four stars. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Gorilichis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this book, and plan on reading more of the series
Published 5 days ago by lois tedrow
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book(and series)
I had not realized it would be so dark and scary when I started reading it but it really did hook me and I could not put it down. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Hannah Even
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great series!!
Published 1 month ago by Lorrina D.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
It was kind of a trip, but, i did like it. Not enough to pursue the series though...
Published 1 month ago by Nlovewithreading
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall I loved this book and how it was written
I decided to step out of my normal reading zone to read this book. For me at times this book went really slow but at other parts I had to put my tablet down so I could calm down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Alexander
2.0 out of 5 stars Dollhouse
Completely and utterly strange book. Very disturbing. After this, I will probably never be able to look at a doll or doll house the same way again.
Published 2 months ago by Michelle Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very hooked from the first sentence
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Published 2 months ago by Scott G.
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More About the Author

Anya Allyn enjoys fiction that is a little on the dark side. Also, she enjoys Black Forest Cake just a little too much. She lives by the beach with her partner and four children, about an hour away from the Sydney (Australia) rush. She has previously worked as a Features' Editor for Fairfax Media and in promotions.

She is the author of The Dark Carousel series and the Lake Ephemeral serial novel.

The first book of The Dark Carousel series was released in May 2014 by Paper Lantern Lit (Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer).

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