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House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson (BOOK REVIEW) || House of Disappointment

As always when I write dnf or less than positive reviews – just because I didn’t like the book doesn’t mean I’m here to tell you can’t like it at all. Maybe you’re really looking forward to reading this, or maybe you’ve already read it and really loved it. That’s fine! We all have different opinions and just need to respect that.

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review. The book cover and details are taken from Goodreads and the content warnings are taken from The Storygraph; from me reading the book, or from others’ reviews. I try my absolute best to find the cover art/designer but unfortunately I am not always able to do so. The page numbers/audio hours are taken from the version that I’m reading from (if an e-arc, the digital version then). The featured image is my own. All opinions expressed are my own. This is a spoiler-free review with slight references towards the spoilers, be they plot or characters.

House of Hunger - Alexis HendersonTitle: House of Hunger
Author: Alexis Henderson
Number of Pages: 320 pages
Year Published: 2022
Publisher: Transworld Publishers (Imprint of Random House UK)
Cover Art/Designer: Daniel Brount
Age Demographic: Adult
Genre: Gothic ~ Horror ~ Fantasy
Rep: Sapphic main character and love interest.
Stars: use this
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: E-arc (Netgalley)
CW/TW: (Taken from The Storygraph) Graphic: Blood, Gore, Death. Moderate: Sexual content, Emotional abuse, Toxic relationship. Minor: Incest

WANTED: A bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life’s finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.

A young woman is drawn into the upper echelons of a society where blood is power, in this dark and enthralling Gothic novel from the author of The Year of the Witching.

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.

You know those books where you don’t have the highest of expectations but you want your reading experience to go a certain way so you come out at least liking the book? That was me with House of Hunger. I knew going in I wasn’t expecting it to be my new favourite of the year or anything, but I still had some expectations for it. Luckily this hasn’t stopped me from wanting to read Henderson’s other book, The Year of the Reaper (whenever I get to that). Either I like/love it or I know not to read Henderson’s future books.

I should’ve marked this a Did-Not-Finish rather than slogging through the book and disliking it all the way through. I originally rated it 3 stars but then after thinking about and it’s now a 1 star for me. Which also proves to me I should’ve stopped reading early on or when I first started realising it wasn’t going my way – which there were so many parts where I had the urge to stop reading it. But I didn’t and that was a bit of a mistake – whoops.

Both covers were just absolutely stunning. I had the review copy with the UK cover but the US cover is also amazing. The cover (both of them) were definitely why I wanted to read it. Unfortunately the cover did not make up for everything else. Which is sad because they’re both so gorgeous!

I sort of liked Marion as a character. I started off interested in her journey and then she met Lisavet and everything immediately went down for me (whoopsie!). I would’ve rated higher if the plot just matched the characters? I don’t know if this makes sense but to me Marion was written (a bit) better than the plot. And I only mention her because I disliked all the other characters so much that even though I didn’t like much of anything, Marion was basically my favourite by default because she was the best… of sort of the worst.

I don’t like books that only start picking up – pace or plot – right at the end. For House of Hunger, to me at least, the “real” action I think was only after the 80% percent. Which is not what I want in a book at all – especially when it’s a book that I’m disliking all the way through.

I can’t even bring myself to say like one nice thing about Lisavet and the representation surrounding her because I disliked her so so much. Obviously that’s how the character is meant to be written but I was reading reviews and others were raving about how much they loved the characters and the represention was good. Because you had me sitting and thinking “good representation? WHERE”. Did these readers purchase a special edition of this book where Lisavet was interesting? I didn’t find her compelling or interesting or likeable in the slightest.

📚 🚀 📚

I know that because this is a Gothic novel certain traits of the genre are expected from it. Specifically a slower pace – which means I should have expected this. But this isn’t always the case with other Gothic novels so maybe it was me, maybe it was just this book – like I say a lot – you can’t always win with every book.

Have you seen this book around? Have you read it/what did you think about it? Are you sad when you don’t like every book that you read? I thought I would be but I’m actually not because it allows me to figure out what I like more and more.


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About Me

Hi! I’m DB and I really like reading! I mean, of course I do – otherwise this wouldn’t be a book blog. It would be full of pictures of my cat. But come and look at whatever I’ve got on this blog!
Read more about me in my About page.

March 2023

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