Monday, October 10, 2022

Review | What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

Source: personal purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

What Moves the Dead is a horror novella by T. Kingfisher.

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.

I bought What Moves the Dead because I wanted to read more of T. Kingfisher's work. I loved The Hollow Places, and I keep hearing such good things about everything she has written. Thankfully, What Moves the Dead was voted the September readalong selection by the Horror Spotlight discord group. it gave me the perfect excuse to pull it off the shelf and read it.

What Moves the Dead is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. It had been a while since I first read The Fall of the House of Usher so I decided to read it again before reading What Moves the Dead. I'm so glad that I did! What Moves the Dead expanded on The Fall of the House of Usher in such a wonderful way. This was one of my favorite reading experiences of the year.

Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher is very short and, in my opinion, not very memorable. But What Moves the Dead does an amazing job of keeping the tone of Edgar Allan Poe – the wonderfully creepy Gothic fungus covered tone – and expands it into a terrifying and memorable and even somehow lovable story.

I loved the characters and the writing and everything about What Moves the Dead.

T. Kingfisher does a really great job at creepy imagery in What Moves the Dead. There are several moments that are quite chilling, and I had so much fun with the suspense of it all. I think reading The Fall of the House of Usher as well really enhanced my experience with reading What Moves the Dead.

If you haven't read T. Kingfisher before, I highly recommend both The Hollow Places and What Moves the Dead. I would really love to read everything she has written. I think next up for me will be Nettle and Bone. That sounds like a perfect read for me.
5/5 stars


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  1. I loved this as well, such a creepy story! And the rabbits๐Ÿ˜ฌ

  2. This is one I really want to read. Creepy gothic stories are so perfect for this time of year. :)

  3. This is one I still haven't read. Definitely need to bump it up for the month of October!

  4. I like the cover for this one. Thanks for letting us know about this.

  5. I LOVED this one! Glad to see it was a hit for you as well! :)

  6. I haven't read it but I've seen good things about it on a couple of other blogs.


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