House Name by Michelle West

jojo_k654's review against another edition

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dark emotional sad slow-paced


caitlinxmartin's review against another edition

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I love Michelle West's books. She has created such a huge world to play about in. It's imaginative, unique, and contains all the elements of good fantasy without being cliched. I look forward to these when they come out and buy them in hardback. If you haven't read them, you really should. You won't be sorry. These, along with George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series are the ne plus ultra of current adult fantasy. If you haven't read George R.R. Martin, you should - he'll blow you away.

This book centers around the same events covered in the Hunter Duology that is the prequel for the whole cycle. In this case, the story is told from the point of view of relatively minor characters in the duology - Jewel Markess and her Den. As the cycle progressed, Jewel grew to be one of the most interesting characters and it's been wonderful to read more of her story in the The House Wars series.

I particularly enjoyed the play with point of view in this part of the series. There are new events and deeper exploration of certain characters within the structure of this book, but of a necessity much of it covers ground that's already been addressed. I love the fact that West isn't afraid to cover the same ground from different points of view because it so enhances my appreciation of events.

Great book and can't wait for the next one.

clendorie's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes


laurla's review

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made me cry, but also pulls me in to the characters so well. love her writing.

"it was more than just make-work; she understood that now. they were making sanity. they were trying to hold onto the emotions of everyday life because it mattered."

"i feel helpless here. i dont feel safe. i dont feel that theres any such thing as safety, anymore."

"i'm not sure i can be what you want me to be"

"you are young, and you measure yourself, always, by your failures. by your current failures. you do not see your successes."

"not everything you value will outlast you. some of the things you build will be destroyed - by your oversight, the malice of others, or the simple passing of time.' but time gives perspective. with time you come to understand that not everything is lost. when a fire scours the forest and destroys the lives within, new growth occurs in the open spaces left behind, and life returns. it is not the same life, but it offers some hope for the future."

"many people who possess a sense of duty possess, as well, a crippling sense of guilt when they feel they have failed. the guilt, the inability to continue in the face of guilt, consumes them."

"no one man or woman can be all things to all people; no single man or woman can be all things to house terafin. not even the lord who rules it. what that lord who rules it sees, is how best to leverage those men and women who can do what he or she cannot. she is not perfect. she will make mistakes. she will fail in some of her responsibilities because one does not always see them clearly or in time."

"if you allow guilt to paralyze or devour you, you will be able to shoulder no other burdens."

"accept that there are things you cannot do."

"sometimes action is necessary, but it does not have to be your action."

"i'm not good at being happy. i'm afraid of it sometimes."

"its not supposed to be easy, losing someone. if it were, we wouldnt care enough to try to keep them. best we can do is try."

beejai's review

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This is the final book in what I guess is a prequel trilogy. I have done some digging around and have found that "The House War" series is actually a part of a much larger literary world. I guess it started with "The Sacred Hunt" duology, then Michelle West (aka Michelle Sagara) wrote "The Sun Sword" series and finally wrote the books I have just read. The first three books in THW take place the same time as TSH. Then you have the events that span TSS and finally THW books 4-8... and counting?

Confused yet? Anyways, This book had a different feel to it from the first two. Actually, that isn't right. I mentioned in my review of THW #2 (City of Night) how the story, characterization, pacing, etc seemed to drastically change about 2/3 the way in. This book feels much most like that last third did. I am guessing this is because it is where the plot overlaps with TSH books. Anyways, I am being way too technical. This is a bad review, but I am too tired to fix it right now.

House Name picks up right where City of Night left off. Jewel and her crew have gone from rags to riches, but quite a few of their number are now dead and gone. The underworld city they used to roam and scavenge to make a living from is now completely blocked off and the abode of demons. Those demons are trying to summon their god so they can rule the world. It is up to Jewel, her den, and some new allies to try and stop them.

I am very invested in the characters, but this book was just not nearly as good for me as the first two. I will most likely be backtracking and reading the Hunter books then the Sun Sword books before finishing up The House War series. I don't think any of these books work as standalone so if you're like me, a fan of huge sprawling storylines that require dozens of thousand-page books to tell, then you will probably enjoy Michelle West. If you are more a fan of YA style lit light... pass on it.

kjjohnson's review

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I thought this was a great book overall, and a big improvement over the first two in the series. Part of this may be that it had more POV sections from characters I liked or found interesting, and fewer from those I found boring.

I am still really attached to Jewel, and I think one of the things I enjoy most about her was that while she does have a special gift, she’s not the only one who does, and it isn’t of itself the reason that people collect around her. That’s her loyalty and sense of duty and responsibility to the people she cares about, and her willingness to go to bat for them at any cost. I enjoyed her being mentored, particularly by the Terafin, and learning and discussing more how to be a leader and how complicated the world and potential actions are, while remaining herself.

The pacing was a lot better, although I still find West’s prose unnecessarily wordy and occasionally repetitive (and why all the em dashes?). A lot of this book was very tense and foreboding, and her descriptions of the tortured voices rising from the ground and there being nothing anyone could do about them, for weeks, was haunting. I also loved the sections where Finch and Teller went to work for different areas of the House and learned and carved little places for themselves - I found it both endearing and interesting, and a great way to expand the world.

It was an interesting choice to have Jewel sit out almost the entirety of the final conflict between Allasakar and our group of heroes, but I think it was a good one. She isn’t a fighter and doesn’t have great magical power, so it makes sense that she wouldn’t be there. It also shows her character growth, as one of the things she’s consistently hated most has been people she cares about being in danger while she is unable to do anything about it; she accepted that she couldn’t here and that people have different roles and can’t do everything themselves.

The fight was good and tense, and left intriguing plot threads, but I think I liked even more the epilogue-ish ending. It was unexpectedly funny, for one, and I thought the den throwing a party that included all of their old friends who helped them when they were nobodies was a great choice to tie everything together.

I still don’t understand the purpose of Jester in the story, and chuckled a little when the Terafin was giving him the House name and was basically ‘I don’t really know what you do but you make your friends laugh, so that’s something’. I also thought it was a little cheesy that almost everyone her den interacted with ended up liking them, but you know what? They’re good people and I like them too, so I don’t mind.

All in all, I enjoyed this book a lot, primarily for the characters but also for the tension and world, and look forward to reading the Sun Sword series, which apparently comes next chronologically.

vailynst's review

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Rating is based on the story and does not reflect my opinion of the narration. Great story. Shoddy narration.

sniperpumpkin's review against another edition

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I found House Name to be a bit of an odd duck, compared to West’s other books in this series. In many ways it is a return to form, due, I suspect, to the position that this book holds bridging so many series. The previous two books in this series (Hidden City, City of Night) felt different in tone than other West novels. They didn’t feel like Sagara novels, but they were clearly influenced by her experience writing those books. This novel, as I said, is more of a return to form, as the scope of the difficulties increases, the language broadens and becomes very similar to the language of the Sun Sword series. This is not altogether a good thing, the Sun Sword novels are many things, an easy read is not one of them. When we rejoin the timeline post SS, I hope that we can keep the increased clarity of prose, without sacrificing the complexity of the plot.

There were some issues with the pacing of this novel, mostly because none of the den were really involved in the ‘action’ climax of the novel. This is probably due to the existence of the Sacred Hunt duology, which I have not yet read, which I believe also contains this book’s climax. I think that she may have had some difficulty working through the elements of the book that are already published, and therefore fixed. That said, this book does work, and I enjoyed it. I do not recommend that people start their Michelle West journey with this book however. Start with Hidden City (the first book chronologically).

kurenai's review against another edition

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I had a rocky start with this book; it had been too long since I finished the second that the finer nuances were lost to me, at least at first. There were many places that I wanted this book to go and many character interactions that I wanted to happen and also many parts that I just wanted to skim through because they were not what interested me so much about The House War series.

I'm giving this a 4 anyway, even though I feel it more towards a 3.5 but because I liked the first two books so much that my decision is very much colored by the beginning of Jewel Markess's story. The book finished on a very high note with various things left unraveled so I am quite relieved to see that a fourth book is scheduled for 2012 because if this was but a trilogy I'd find myself upset with the way things ended. I'd definitely start hunting up other series to see if there was mention of The Terafin or of Jay or even Old Rath before he was old. I thought this was a trilogy so I was all set to rant a bit but I am so incredibly glad that I was mistaken and I still love this story and these characters enough that I will wait for the next book to come out and read it and enjoy it but perhaps I might need to skim her first three books so that I don't have the same problem that I had trying to get through this one; memory lapses.

I still very much enjoyed being sucked back in to this world and I generally enjoyed the characters (though some are starting to fall a bit flat but others are starting to come alive) so I am still on for the long haul and when 2012 comes to pass I will be right there waiting to get my hands on the next book.

bookdragonshoard's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful fast-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes