A review by archaicrobin
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I have a very unpopular opinion here, I know tons of people love this book and it is beautifully written but the plot dragged on in my opinion and I honestly wasn’t that invested in any of the characters which made it even more of a slog for me. 

Based on the real Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Marion is a new blood maid for the House of Hunger where girls are bled for the wealthy nobles to drink. She’s not only a blood maid, but blood maid to one of the most hungry and insatiable of nobles Lisavet.

This is the second book I’ve read by Henderson that fell flat for me. I had read Year of the Witching previously and had the same problems with plot and characters. While her writing is very atmospheric and lyrical, her plots and romance all come off as stale or slow to me. House of Hunger started off great, I was invested in the story and curious as to where it would go but once Marion arrives at the castle it all just slows down. The focus shifts to the relationship between Lisavet and Marion, and it turns from a horror novel into some weird toxic romance. 

Romance is not my thing, I don’t read it, I don’t pursue it, and I don’t mind it as a subplot if it’s well done, but in House of Hunger the relationship was so abusive and toxic from the start I never got behind it. Unfortunately, a huge chunk of the book is just Marion and Lisavet in the castle bleeding for each other and shooting boar, not really interesting to me. 

By the time the plot picks up again, the story goes in to hyper speed and then it’s over, the pacing is not the best. Also, If you know the history of Elizabeth Bathory the twist is not a shock to you, which again probably ruined some of the intrigue for me since I’m a huge history buff and was probably unhealthily obsessed with Bathory as a child so this story was just a miss overall for me.

I can definitely see why so many people love this, it’s dark paranormal romance with gorgeous prose and a bloody story but it’s not what I’m looking for in my own reading. 

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