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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

Review - House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

WANTED: A bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life's finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply. 

House of Hunger is an absolute feast for the senses!

A creepy fantasy Gothic horror, we have a world divided into an ancient, aristocratic and failing north and a rich, industrial south. Decaying houses of nobles in the north survive by drinking the blood of blood maids, beautiful young women bought and sold, indentured to the houses, who are kept, pampered and regularly bled until their indenture is complete, when they're given a fat pension and sent on their way.

The word Vampire is never mentioned, but it definitely has that feel to it. And I'm sure our countess being a Bathory is not coincidental. Lizabeth Bathory definitely feels inspired by the historic figure of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

There's a wonderful sense of the Gothic throughout, in the massive construction of the castle, built over many generations and filled with twisting corridors, opulent ballrooms and hidden passageways. And with it a sense of decay. This is a world that is falling apart, with just four houses of any power while new, industrial money moves in from the south. It also stands in sharp contrast with the slums Marion starts life in, a world of poverty and smog. The sense of decadence is captured perfectly too, from the behaviour of the bored nobility at their nightly parties to the decorations on doors, walls, ceilings and everything else. This is such a sensuous, possibly even scandalous world, and that comes across so well throughout the book.

One of the things I really loved about House of Hunger is the amount of sensory feedback. Right from the slums at the start, we get a strong sense of how the world smells, how it tastes. This really drew me into the beautifully described locations and made me feel part of that world, something not always a particularly comfortable feeling, but a visceral one and powerful for it.

This is a book about hunger, appropriately enough. It's about the hunger for blood, but also the hunger for longevity, for power. It's a book about needing money to survive, for some, and for something to do, for others. It's about ambition and the dangers of overreaching. It's about the hunger for belonging, for family, or for sexual satisfaction, or just for being needed, and with it jealousy and need, and the pain of being rejected for others. 

It's a dark, creepy Gothic masterpiece.


House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson is published on 6th October 2022 by Transworld Publishers.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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