Book Review: Slade House by David Mitchell

The end of October is the best season to read this book. It has the perfect amount of mystery and horror for cold, dark nights. I enjoyed the book enormously. It hooked me from the first sentence on. It was the way how it laid the story to unfold. I’m not sure how much of the plot I should give away, as it was fun to read without knowing too much about the synopses. The book is about Slade House, a mysterious place that only appears every nine years. The house is just past the Fox and Hounds pub to a dark, narrow alley where you can find a small black iron door to a magical garden and mysterious place. But be aware that once you get an invitation, you might not return.

The book plays through the eyes of a young, socially awkward boy, a detective, a college student, and a reporter. They are all a bit off, you could say. They are not exactly as most people are, and the question is if they are easy prey for the house because of that or do they possess some quality why they are invited to Slade House, run by brother and sister? Thusly there is no one protagonist in the book, except the house, of course. The chapters are told from the first-person perspective by the changing protagonist. They all have unique voices and histories, and I found them all engaging. As you read them entering the house, you learn about their hopes, fears, and history. And the house caters to those needs, using them against them. It is just that you really shouldn’t trust things that seem to be too good. As the plot moves on, it gives us clues about what is happening. Who is behind the Slade House, and why do people disappear? And I kind of hated the final revelation. I would have loved to keep the mystery alive, yet at the same time, I wanted to know. I can’t say I was happy with how the mystery was solved. It didn’t fit into the narrative of how it felt to me from the first sentence onward. But I read somewhere this is in the same universe as David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks book, and thus it fits that world. Understandable. I just kind of wished for another story. Though the concept revealed at the end was intriguing, making me want to read the previous book.

What can I say? Despite disliking somewhat how the book ended, as I wanted this ghostly mystery (sorry, it wasn’t), I still enjoyed the story, the narration, the characters (full of hopes and fears), and the setting. It has been a long time since I was this engaged with a book. 

Thank you for reading. Have a beautiful day!

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