Wednesday 29 November 2023

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow (audiobook)

Pages:  320 

Publisher: Tor 

Released: 31st of October 2023 

A grim and gothic new tale from author Alix E. Harrow about a small town haunted by secrets that can't stay buried and the sinister house that sits at the crossroads of it all.

Eden, Kentucky, is just another dying, bad-luck town, known only for the legend of E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth-century author and illustrator who wrote The Underland--and disappeared. Before she vanished, Starling House appeared. But everyone agrees that it’s best to let the uncanny house―and its last lonely heir, Arthur Starling―go to rot.

Opal knows better than to mess with haunted houses or brooding men, but an unexpected job offer might be a chance to get her brother out of Eden. Too quickly, though, Starling House starts to feel dangerously like something she’s never had: a home.

As sinister forces converge on Starling House, Opal and Arthur are going to have to make a dire choice to dig up the buried secrets of the past and confront their own fears, or let Eden be taken over by literal nightmares.

If Opal wants a home, she’ll have to fight for it.

What I Have to Say 

 I adored this book, but I was very aware while reading it that it's not the sort of book everyone will like. It is a book of vibes and while there is a plot, it's very slow to start and for most of the book it's happening in the background. I personally adored the vibes and was very happy to just sink into the book and enjoy it, but I know other people have had problems with books like this, so I wanted to issue a warning. 

I loved the themes of finding a home in this book. The main character Opal lives in a motel room with her brother and there were other characters looking for a home in Starling House too. It was very much a book about finding where you belong as much as it was of haunted house vibes. 

I also have to say it was refreshing to see a story that didn't shy away from the realities of rich families in America who've made all their money through colonialism and slavery. Alix E. Harrow has always been very good at this and it's good to see that not only acknowledged but made a big part of the plot. 

The narrator was excellent and she gave a sort of dream like quality to the book that really really fit well with the aforementioned vibes. I would recommend having a hard copy of the book to refer back to though as there were places I wanted to look back to confirm the details of, especially with the different stories of Starling House. 

If you like a book with good vibes, this is a great choice! 

4 stars 

 My thanks go to Tor and Netgalley for providing me with a gifted copy of this book for review. 

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