Gothic and spooky: What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (Book Review) #Horror #Halloween #Retelling

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher book cover

Today I am happy to bring you my review for a horror I read recently and enjoyed very much. It is perfect Halloween read in my opinion.

What Moves the Dead was published on July 12th 2022 by Tor Nightfire and it has 165 pages. I read my own copy of the book.

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About the book:

FROM GOODREADS /

What Moves the Dead is Kingfisher’s retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

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Review:

I am going to start this review by fangirling about this cover. Do you see how amazing it is?? Beautiful, hypnotic and creepy at the same time!
Honestly, this is my favourite book cover that I have seen in years, and now when I finished the story, I understand it and appreciate it even more!

What Moves the Dead is a retelling of a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe. Which one? I don’t really know. Obviously I didn’t do my research very well, but to me it doesn’t make much difference because the only short story that have read by E.A.P. is Black Cat (In the meantime I learned that the story is called The Fall of the House of Ushers).

But what I did notice is how similar this novel is to Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
They both start with a letter about one sick character where the main character comes to visit, they both have big spooky house, gothic atmosphere, and also… one big thing that plays big part in both stories. Plus, they are both horrors.
Of course, me being bad at doing proper research, I don’t know if they are both retelling of the same classic story.
Still, it is worth mentioning that T. Kingfisher admitted similarities between her and Moreno-Garcia’s novel in her author’s note.

What Moves the Dead has non binary main character, which I appreciate.

The book is set some time in the past, and it is set in the world that is similar to ours (London, Paris and America are there) but it also has some imaginary places that don’t exist in our world, and also cultures that I’ve never heard about.

It is written in first person, from Alex‘ POV, but as the narrator sometimes talks to us readers, at times it feels like it was written in second person.

The gothic, dark and wet atmosphere was my favourite part.
Also, I appreciate how short this novel is. It takes a skill to write something that isn’t too long, but says so much.

This was a buddy read with Amanda and we both liked it.
We both also agree that we didn’t fan over big revelation of what caused all this mess, as it made little sense to our contemporary oriented brains.

However, I still very much recommend this book and I will definitely check other work by T. Kingfisher.

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2 Comments

  1. Great review and like you I love the cover of this book. Even more so after reading the book. It was a perfect little spooky read for this time of year.
    If you are looking for another spooky Netflix watch, then I can recommend ‘ The Devil in Ohio’. Its about a girl who escapes a cult. Very good.

    Thanks for linking me into your review again. I appreciate it.
    Amanda

    Like

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