Book Review: Slade House by David Mitchell

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slade house

Slade House came to my attention via a recommendation from a member of staff in the Newcastle Branch of Waterstones. I will admit I don’t get recommendations very often, but on this occasion I was rather lost as I’m still figuring out the layout, which changed recently. I was also wondering in which section Mark Gatiss’ Lucifer Box books might have been kept, so I will have been looking more puzzled than normal.

Strangely I didn’t ask for help to find what I was actually looking for, but I did get recommended this book when approached to see if I was okay. I was drawn in by the recommendation, not least because the lovely gentleman was so enthusiastic, but also because the premise of the book is so wonderful. I was aware of David Mitchell’s novels, but I hadn’t read a novel by him. I have tried to read Cloud Atlas, whilst also studying for university exams; I didn’t get far. I will have to give it a better chance in the future, as I struggled to connect when distracted.

I absolutely loved Slade House though. I’ve always thought of myself as someone adverse to horror, but actually I’m not. Looking at what defines something as horror, I actually do read it, watch it and even write it myself more often than I realise. I am a lot more receptive to the genre than I thought, and discovering Slade House is part of my recent relish in exploring the genre.

I wouldn’t have even thought about this as a horror story if not for the fact I have been recently researching the genre and it does fall into the supernatural category. It’s not particularly horrifyingly though and I would definitely say it would be suitable for teenagers from about 15 and older to read.

Slade House is a ghost story, well actually its several. It is a series of interconnected short stories, set over a period from 1979 to 2015, following people who every nine years enter Slade House, usually looking for the last set of people who disappeared never to be seen again. It has a fabulous plot, and the reasons why people are disappearing is slowly revealed over the course of the book, just tidbit by tidbit; enough to keep you wanting to turn the next page.

I started this book on my morning commute, eagerly read more during my lunch break, and then tucked myself under a blanket in the evening and read until midnight when I finished the last page. I was utterly addicted, and in the annoying hours in-between when I had to earn a living, I was constantly thinking about it. This book will get under your skin. It is compelling.

The character voices are so distinctive from each other, yet all of them draw you into the story to make you want to know more. It is a fantastic example of how to write a distinct set of characters very well and give them all a unique voice. And the setting of Slade House itself changes in each story. It is recognisable as the same place, but the descriptions of the house are evocative, and disorienting as they fall into the trap. Beware you will begin to dread the characters heading up the stairs towards the attic.

You will definitely get a shiver up your spine, and be left delighted by the tension.

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About kabrown4

A quaint life full of teacups searched for inspiration to fuel a writer dreaming of fantasy worlds that are full of friends found only in words. I have been writing for as long as I can remember and over the years I have developed many stories and many characters. This is my blog about the journeys I've been on over the years, and the road I'm still travelling as a writer.

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