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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Review - The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

Review - The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

August 1939.

As the world goes to war, Hetty Cartwright arrives at Lockwood Manor, to take up her new post for the duration of the war, as safekeeper of the natural history museum’s most treasured taxidermy animal collection, recently evacuated from London.

Yet life at the manor proves challenging for Hetty, who faces the near constant task of protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants, and it seems that every inhabitant has something to hide, not least Lucy, Lord Lockwood's beautiful yet haunted daughter.

But when some of the animals start to go missing, Hetty begins to suspect that someone, or something, is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house . . .

Amongst the rumours of ghosts and curses, what else is Lockwood Manor hiding?

Oh I absolutely loved this book! It has everything! Gothic horror, queer romance, taxidermy!

Lockwood Manor looms over the whole affair, as it should in any Gothic novel. A vast manor house, slowly falling apart, as the Second World War begins. I loved the enigma and mystery of the house, the questions about how many rooms there actually are, the tower bedroom with their own princess locked away in them, the dwindling staff, all ruled over by a bully of a lord. And it's into this Gothic masterpiece that Hetty and her collection arrive.

And what a collection it is! The mammal collection from, presumably, the Natural History Museum in London, evacuated to the countryside to escape the upcoming blitz. Rare and fabulous beasts begin to fill the halls of Lockwood Manor, bringing their own mystery and creepiness to proceedings. 

This is where the haunting mystery begins to creep in. There are tales of Lockwood Manor being haunted, dreams of a white woman and her beasts stalking its hall, so it is fitting that the horror really begins with the stuffed and mounted beasts. It's slow, creeping horror too. How does the leopard disappear on the first day? Do the animals really keep moving around at night? So many little elements like this really got under my skin, had me guessing, on edge, throughout the book. Once the true horrors of Lockwood Manor were revealed, however, they left me totally shocked and shook. This is a powerful, haunting and moving book!

There's romance too, and again it is slow and subtle, beautiful in its delicacy. The pacing of this novel is perfect, and everything within it is allowed to unfold at its own speed, giving it so much impact when things finally become clear.

A beautiful, powerful Gothic horror which got under my skin and really moved me.


The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey is out now, published by Pan Macmillan.
I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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