I have read three or four vampire stories this fall already and I am not mad about it. To be fair, this isn’t like precisely vampires in the sense that no one really uses that word – but they drink human blood! House of Hunger is a book that I only seem to love more the more time I spend thinking about it. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
WANTED – 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 is 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 peculiar listing 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 the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery–and at the center of it all is her.
Countess Lisavet, who presides over this hedonistic court, is loved and feared in equal measure. She takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, 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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: drug use, drug abuse, domestic abuse
Having adored The Year of the Witching, I was so excited for House of Hunger. And Henderson has a true talent for fantasy worlds. I adored the way that this one feels so detailed and immersive from the beginning. I hope that vampire books are having a resurgence because I am all here for it. But what I even love more about House of Hunger is the way that Henderson also examines and discusses privilege and economic class. The ways in which this system seems to exist to pray off poverty. To find girls who have no other options and while it seems like it’s a ‘gift’, nothing is ever that simple.
House of Hunger deeply explores this idea of choice and agency. The ways in which it feels like we’re set up and left with no choices. But also the power in knowing the opportunities for our own power and voice. It’s one of those books which so brilliantly explores knowledge, power, and secrets. A world where ambition is used against women – how novel! House of Hunger begins as a decadent story about a chance at luxury and freedom. And quickly becomes a story about hidden secrets, locked rooms, and the taste of blood spilled.
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House of Hunger is brilliant, glistening, and blood soaked fantasy about loyalty and exploitation. About how ambition can suck the very marrow from our bones as well as lift us up on wings made of wax. When Marion is dropped into this court of fangs and dangerous desires, she discovers the extreme price of loyalty. They’ve capitalized on her own hunger for a home, for belonging, and for lush rugs. But House of Hunger is a story of jealously and desire wrapped into one. Of insatiable hunger, secretive repercussions, and monstrosity. If you’re a fan of queer fantasy, of horror stories and final girls, you have to read House of Hunger. Find House of Hunger on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.