Friday, October 28, 2022

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher Reviews

Today Jen and Cassie review a Horror Spotlight favorite WHAT MOVES THE DEAD by T. Kingfisher. We hope you check it out!

What Moves the Dead 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."

 Goodreads  |  Bookshop 

Jen's Review

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.

Cassie's Review

I loved this so, so much - wow! This is a retelling of an old Edgar Allan Poe story, but the old story leaves so much up to the imagination that I've never found the reading of it to be a satisfying experience. Where that one lacked in explanation, this one more than makes up for it, and I think this is probably one of my favorite retellings of all time - it's just so good!

My favorite things from the classic are all here - the creepy house, the weird siblings, the mushrooms! And then there's just so much more here, more depth, more explaining, more reasons for why things are what they are. While explaining can sometimes take away the mystery or horror of a thing, this didn't for me - it just made me like it more!

The way the movements in this are described made me wish so badly for it to get an on screen adaptation - I think it'd be so creepy and unsettling to watch!

Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts in the comments about What Moves the Dead and/or any recent reads you've been enjoying.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.

Jen is one of our Horror Spotlight admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Horror Spotlight website. She also keeps a spotlight on new diverse horror releases, middle grade horror, and young adult horror each month.

You can also find Jen on her blog Book Den, Twitter as @bookden, Instagram as @bookdenjen, on Goodreads, and Letterboxd.

Cassie is one of our contributing reviewers and contributes website content. Find her online at her website, Twitter as @ctrlaltcassie, Instagram as @readinginaprism, or over at her Etsy store, where she has amazing original art prints, cross stitch kits, bookmarks, and more!

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