Starling House was one of my most anticipated fall releases and it is a perfect fall/spooky season read. I listened to this audio and while I found the narrator to be great- I didn’t end up loving this story.
While the storyline was interesting, I spent the first few pages of this book confusing it with The Unmaking of June Farrow. Not because the storylines are similar but because the opening to both books are about a parentless 20/30-year-old women, in a small town that hates them. I just so happened to start both books within days of each other. I digress.
I didn’t find this to be much of a horror read, though there are some ‘gory’ depictions included in the story. In my opinion this was more a dark fantasy book, and I’d reset your expectations if you’re looking for something truly in the horror genre.\
While I think I did enjoy the book, especially the narration, there isn’t too much that is truly memorable. I thought we had some interesting characters, but I’ve grown weary of women’s characters, always thinking they can do everything themselves and need to protect everyone instead of just communicating. This is a qualm I have with all genres lately, not just this book. Arthur was an interesting character, and I did find the relationship between the two to be compelling. What this book lacked though for me, was an understanding of the ‘magic/fantasy’. We get a glimpse into where and how it’s found but I’m not 100% sure where it came from, how it works, or what exactly it is. Which took this down a star for me.
I am 100% a plot-based reader. I’m not a fan of endings open to interpretation and Gothic books are so hit or miss for me. Harrow is such a wonderful and imaginative writer, but the unanswered questions took away from the story. This is perfect for readers looking for an atmospheric ‘haunted’ house story. Ultimately for me, it was a 3-star read.
Starling House is out now. Huge thank you to Tor Books and Macmillan Audio for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof.books.