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HOUSE OF HUNGER by Alexis Henderson

WANTED – Bloodmaid of exceptional tasteMust 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. 


Title : House of Hunger
Author : Alexis Henderson
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 304
Genre : historical fiction / horror / LGBTQIAP+ / fantasy
Publisher : Ace Books
Release Date : September 27, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

When the need for a spoopy vampire book to fit a spoopy-themed readathon prompt was required, this was (maybe oddly) the first to come to mind.

I had heard good things about the author’s witchy debut, which I have yet to read, and this cover really caught the eye. And while it did start off well, I will admit that the characterization of the lead character took too sharp a turn at a certain point and I felt the emotional impact and motivation just didn’t measure up. In fact, in general, I just didn’t find her convincing at all. Too forthright, too pushy, all from the get-go; and considering her position in life, before and after being a bloodmaid, it just didn’t really fit. I would’ve liked to see her come into that as a result of her change in circumstances instead of already possess it. Much like I would’ve liked to see more of what drove her to feel devotion, desire, and more, instead of it just seeming to happen. And likewise, her unique blood aside, she didn’t seem to inspire it in others, despite what we were told.

This wasn’t a long book and we had time for so much more. Not just Marion’s character development but more of the other Houses, the history, the politics. So much of this felt too much like set dressing; interesting at first glance but too static and without depth. Even Lisavet, for all her hunger, felt a little too two dimensional.

Having said all that, though this wasn’t a win, I may try to pick up The Year of the Witching during this autumnal spoopy time, after a few other changes in pace, to see if maybe that’ll be more my vibe.