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Heap House: The Iremonger Trilogy Book One

Review

Heap House: The Iremonger Trilogy Book One

Clod is an Iremonger; a member of the Victorian family whose great mansion, Heap House, sits at the center of the Heaps. In the Heaps is everything you can imagine that was ever discarded, thrown away or tossed out. Miles and miles of rubbish turned it into a great, swelling sea that has its own deadly weather and can swallow people whole. It's a dangerous place to live.

Clod is content to be an Iremonger, marry his cousin and spend the rest of his life sorting through the wild Heaps as is expected of him. That is until he meets orphaned serving girl Lucy Pennant and starts to learn the truth about his mysterious family, their unorthodox "Birth Objects" and the dark secrets of Heap House.

On its surface, HEAP HOUSE is a send up of Dickensian tropes and characters. There are some truly vile family members with some memorable names, all in the style of Charles Dickens. Not to mention the Victorian setting. But with a wholly original plot and mesmerizing world-building, this book absolutely stands on its own. It's been a long time since I've read something so original; I honestly didn't know what was going to happen at any point during this book! It had twists and turns that kept me breathlessly turning the page.

A wholly original plot and mesmerizing world-building

Clod and Lucy are fantastic narrators, splitting the book between nearly alternating chapters. Clod starts the story as a frail and sickly 15-year-old who is about as far away from being a hero as you can get. Lucy is crass, mean and might be a bit of a thief. Together, they are an unlikely but believable pair, with a bit of romance sprinkled in.

The illustrations are another great element of the book. They reminded me of Edward Gorey and were just the right balance of creepy and humorous. Each picture contained a portrait of an Iremonger proudly posed with his or her Birth Object. Seeing the Iremongers in all their gory glory was a treat. There were also two house maps; one with the upstairs and one with the downstairs sections, so you could follow along as Clod or Lucy ran from eccentric room to eccentric room.

The ending is probably the biggest and most frustrating cliffhanger I've ever read. But also oddly satisfying. With every question answered, two more questions popped up, and while I read I wondered how in the world it could possibly tie together. I was surprised, delighted and angry all at the same time as I turned the last page. Needless to say, I'll be first in line to buy the sequel.

This was a fabulous book. It was wonderfully original with characters I didn't want to let go of. HEAP HOUSE is perfect for older fans of Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl or anyone who likes their stories a bit macabre.

Reviewed by Rebecca Czochor on November 5, 2014

Heap House: The Iremonger Trilogy Book One
by Edward Carey

  • Publication Date: October 16, 2014
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 1468309536
  • ISBN-13: 9781468309539