I adored THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING, but it turns out I loved HOUSE OF HUNGER even more. Alexis Henderson is just getting better, and I can’t wait to see what else she writes. This dark, gothic horror is steeped in elegance and blood and creates an atmospheric tale that crept under my skin.
Rating: 5 stars.
Thanks to Bantam Press for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
About the book:
WANTED: A bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life’s finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.
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.
What did I think?
Okay, firstly – I’m an idiot. It took me so far into this book to realise that this was inspired by Countess Elizabeth Bathory, which is one of my favourite historical stories to read about. I read this in the middle of a huge reading slump, and it dragged me right out of it again because I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters.
I absolutely adored THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING and I already knew that Alexis Henderson’s next book was going to be an insta-buy for me, but after reading THE HOUSE OF HUNGER I actually liked HUNGER even better. Alexis Henderson’s writing was just as good as ever and I know I’m going to read everything she publishes. Marion was a fantastic main character and I absolutely adored her. The intricacies of her backstory and her decisions that led to her signing up to be a bloodmaid made her feel so real and relatable, even as everything started going wrong around her.
The relationships between the bloodmaids were beautiful, if a little heartbreaking. They were all drawn together by their trauma and bonded in the dangerous lifestyle they chose and it made my heart ache for them. Even the conflict and mistrust between them was completely understandable, driven by their surroundings. The relationship between Marion and Lisavet was brutal. It was intense and messy and I absolutely adored the dark and messy sapphic energy of it all.
Even the fantasy elements of this book were tinged with horror and it made the whole read incredibly intense and I was on edge by the end of the book. I definitely want to reread this one, and I think I’ll listen to the audiobook when I do because I think that will definitely add to the intense atmosphere.
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Release Date: 27th September 2022