Saturday, April 22, 2023

Review: STARLING HOUSE by Alix E. Harrow


Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Arthur Starling is the mysterious and rarely seen Warden of Starling House, protecting the surrounding land from the Beasts of the Underland that may or may not lurk beneath the house. 

Opal will do anything for her brother, Jasper, to help him leave their small town for good and make his way in the world, including confronting Starling House and its reclusive sole resident. 

While this contemporary southern gothic fairytale is told from the dueling perspectives of both Arthur and Opal, neither is truly the main character of this novel; the house itself lies at the center of the story. 

I love stories containing a creepy, old house, and better yet if the house is a sentient character in the story. The Starling house is darkly magical, mysterious and beautiful, while also crumbling in disrepair. It’s a labyrinth that haunts people’s dreams to draw them to it. And it might also be haunted itself. 

The imagery and vivid descriptions in this story captivated me from the very beginning. I loved letting my mind get lost in Eden, Kentucky while also being glad that I wasn’t physically present in this creepy accident-prone small town.

Starling House is an ethereal and transportive novel perfect for those interested in the dark secrets of a cursed town, an old house with monsters inside, generational history that gets twisted throughout time, family ties and found family bonds stronger than steel, a pair of protagonists fighting for survival, and a swoony romance that rivals that of Howl and Sophie (from Howl’s Moving Castle, another incredible book featuring a sentient house). 

Starling House was one of my most anticipated books of 2023, and it’s definitely on my list of top books I’ve read so far this year. I love Alix Harrow’s lyrical and beautiful writing, and I will continue to read anything she publishes. This is her best novel yet, and it’s a strong recommendation from me.

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