House of Hunger

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson is a new, sapphic horror from the author. Marion decides to become a bloodmaiden after years of poverty, but she never could imagine what was in store for her.

All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
From GoodReads:

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.

Characters: 8 | Atmosphere: 10 | Writing: 9 | Plot: 7 | Intrigue: 10 | Logic: 9 | Enjoyment: 10
Total: 9.00 / 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“In the end there are only those who eat and those who bleed.”

House of Hunger is the sapphic, bloody, gothic horror of my dreams. Alexis Henderson has done an incredible job of merging both the erotic, velvet environment of gothic writing and the nerve-wracking, bloody terror of horror. There was just enough mystery to keep me on the edge of my seat and intrigued. The first half did have me feeling very “Not sure what’s going on but the vibes are good enough to keep reading.” And I’m glad I kept reading because it was worth it.

“Consumption is the highest honor.”

The characters in this book were interesting, each of them with full personalities and even backstories that were well hinted at. This writing allows you to wonder at even the side characters and what brought them to the House of Hunger. Many times, a book with so many named characters seems to drop the ball on the interactions with one another being unique and noticeably different. Henderson managed to avoid this, even with a scene where Marion and Irene discuss hair care for their hair types. The line “The servants here hardly know what to do with our hair. That’s why I do it myself.” And the interaction that follows felt intimate and honest. It is with these little moments that Henderson makes herself an author that stands above the rest.

“Hunger makes monsters of the kindest souls. And to be quite honest . . . I’ve never been particularly kind.”

This book feels like a blend between Interview with the Vampire and a Dowry of Blood. Taking all of my favorite elements of both and creating a wonderful, wretched story, House of Hunger will stay in my head for months. I highly recommend this, especially during the upcoming spooky season.

“But if only one of us leaves this House, know it will be me.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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