A review by wordsofclover
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Marion is tired. Tired of her industrial city of Prane, pumping out smog into the dirty streets, and especially tired of working as a maid for hardly any money and returning to the slums every night. So when Marion spots a notice looking for Bloodmaid, despite the views of friends and families that she is selling herself, she takes the opportunity to escape the drudgery of her life. When Marion arrives in the House of Hunger, she is immediately initiated into the political hierarchy of Bloodmaids and finds herself vying for the top spot, and the love of her mistress Lisavet.

I really love Alexis Henderson's writing and this book definitely sealed it for me. This is vampy and horrifying in all the right ways, with a perfect level of blood, violence combined with just the right amounts of sexiness.

The world Marion lives in what very much feels like a post Civil-War era US, separated into North and South with both areas divided on behaviour and views. There's not a lot of world building but just enough that we learn about the bigger differences between North and South, and how much it takes for someone to be able to travel between them.

I went into this blood initially believing that it was about some kind of vampiric creature using bloodmaids - but the truth that it (appears) to be normal people is almost even more horrifying. As is the reality that this world Marion lives in is run by blood in almost every matter - including the train which is run on 'blood fuel'. A lot of Marion's experience in the House of Hunger has a hazy, almost dream like quality as she is taken in with the wealth, the food and the comfort while almost daily being bled in payment.

I don't think there was a huge amount in this book that really shocked me - you can kind of figure out what must be happening and what kind of dark secrets the house is holding. I did like the showdown and it all the right amount of tension to keep me gripped. 

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