Moldavia is a huge castle on the Heyward estate that also serves as a studio for the family's B-horror movie company, Moldavia Studios. Following an odd childhood of starring in his father's films & enduring his abuses, Dario has become emancipated & currently resides in a group home.
After the passing of his father, 17-year-old Dario is recruited back to the place of his worst nightmares.
This book has one of the more unique premises I've read in the Young Adult genre. It gets a bit difficult to pin down its subgenres, but I think it falls somewhere on the spectrum of a Contemporary Horror/Comedy. I enjoyed how Milman's debut struck a fun balance between creepy, hilarious, and emotional.
When I first started reading, the book really gave me similar feelings to those I had when I read John Dies at the End by David Wong. That book is a lot crazier than this one, but it had the same quirky sense of humor & that really appeals to me.
Of course, I did get a little weary as the story went on. At times, the juxtaposition between ridiculous & serious didn't quite vibe with me & it ended up making some of the circumstances feel unbelievable in the wrong way.
Also, every so often I hit patches of the book where its organization felt somewhat off. I think this was partially due to the flashbacks. When we experience flashbacks of Dario's life at Moldavia as a child, it provided some interesting insight, but the tone shift caused a feeling of disjoint between the past & present.
Even so, I appreciated the inclusion of more serious themes - abuse, friendship, parenthood, self-worth. Dario's relationships with his father, his unconventional brother, Oren, his crush, Hayley, and his best friend, Jude, all create a complex web of emotional education & exploration for Dario.
Overall, I enjoyed the strangeness & throw back to horror movie studios like Hammer Horror films, even if it wasn't a complete home run for me. Definitely an entertaining debut!
***I received a copy of Scream All Night in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Balzer + Bray and Derek Milman for this opportunity.***
Publication Date: July 24th, 2018