- Author: Alexis Henderson
- Series: Standalone
- Genre: Gothic Fantasy
- No. of pages: 304
- Dates read: 06.10.2022 – 10.10.2022
- Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Plot: Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a strange advertisement in the newspaper, seeking a ‘bloodmaid’. Though she knows little about the far north – where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service – Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery – and there, at the centre of it all is her. Her name is Countess Lisavet. Loved and feared in equal measure, she presides over this hedonistic court. And she takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, charismatic, seductive – and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when her fellow bloodmaids begin to go missing in the night, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home – and fast – or its halls will soon become her grave.
Last year, I’m pretty sure around the same time, I read The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. What a book! Creepy, scary and a plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. When I saw promotion for this book I knew I needed to get my hands on it.
This book was everything! I was expecting to enjoy it but I literally read 100 pages in one sitting. Henderson has a beautiful way of marrying more flowery writing, beautiful imagery, poetic dialogue etc., alongside writing that gets straight to the point. It was a perfect balance for me. Her imagery especially was incredible! I found the writing to be easy read with perfect pacing so I literally couldn’t put it down. I mean sometimes, especially with endings of books, I find that it all feels rushed and super fast paced but the ending of this book was perfectly paced and the writing literally had me on edge.
The plot was so so good! I mean I love a mystery anyway. Mystery is my favourite genre. But I loved the setting of this book. I loved exploring the island that the House of Hunger sits on, I loved exploring the house, I loved exploring its past. I do wish the mystery plot itself was dragged out a little bit longer or interspersed within the story a tad bit more but I was still super invested in the plot and the mystery. I will also add that most of the big plot points I figured out pretty early on. That didn’t hinder my enjoyment whatsoever as the rest of the book was perfect.
In terms of characters. Marion was just incredible. From the first page I knew this would be a character I wanted to root for. I felt her development from page 1 to the end was done really really well. I could see what brought her to all the points in this novel. This novel felt very psychological in its treatment of its characters and Marion and the way she changes through this book was a poster child for that. I really enjoyed her dynamic with Lisavet. Seeing Marion at the beginning of the book and then seeing her later in the book and how under Lisavet’s eye and the atmosphere of the House how she has changed dramatically. This all makes for such an impactful ending.
I could read more books set in other Houses. This world was so interesting and I love reading about the history of this world. I would personally rather have a sequel or a spin off in this universe that for The Year of the Witching. All the tiny snippets we get about other houses or other Lords etc. makes me want to dive in and find out more.
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