I’m very excited to be on The House of Spines Blog Tour today and to be able to share my review of this fabulous book with you! House of Spines is out now as an ebook or paperback, published by the brilliant Orenda Books.
A terrifying psychological thriller cum Gothic mystery, as a young man with mental health issues inherits an isolate mansion, where all is not as it seems…Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror… the reflection of a woman… A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…
Wow! This book is definitely going onto the list of the best books I have ever read. I so enjoyed reading it and found it incredibly hard to put down.
I have to admit to being a little apprehensive when I first started this book. I had heard lots of great reviews from my fellow bloggers but i am a huge wimp at heart and the title along with the reviews of ‘terrifying’ led me to believe that this would be a horror book. I’m not good with horror and get scared incredibly easily (i managed to have nightmares after watching the advert for IT) so i started this book wondering if I would be able to finish it. To put fellow nervous readers at ease the house of spines refers to the spines of books, not humans, as i was worried it would be!
The book soon drew me in and had me desperately trying to read more whenever I could, hoping that my little girl would sleep longer at nap time just so i could read a few more pages and find out what happens. The book is a little spooky and the tension is incredible and that combined makes you want to keep reading it. It is not necessarily the action that is happening on the page that makes this tension but rather the anticipation that something is going to happen. I found this rather exciting and quite enjoyed the feeling of being a little scared and out of my comfort zone which i was surprised about.
The main character, Ranald, is a very sympathetic and sweet character who I liked almost instantly. I come from a Scottish family and am married to a Scot so I loved how realistic he sounded when he spoke and how he used the correct Scottish terms in his speech. His struggles with his parents death and his mental health was very emotional and quite poignant to read about. The reader can’t help but feel sorry for him and sympathetic to the lonely situation he finds himself him. His attempts to make friends further endeared himself to me and i found that I wanted him to be happy and was willing him to make friends with people. I also really wanted the house to work out for him and kept reading to find out what happened to him.
The Twist towards the end of the book was brilliant and one I definitely didn’t see coming. It was one of those that had me gasping in surprise and flicking back through the pages of the book to try to discover new information I might have missed the first time. As i read quite a lot it is quite hard to surprise me nowadays and I always really enjoy it when someone manages to!
This is the first book of Michael Malone that I have read but it won’t be my last. In fact I have already downloaded a copy of his first book A Suitable Lie to read.
Huge thanks to Karen from Orenda books and Anne Carter for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour. This is definitely going to be one of those books that I will be recommending to everyone for a long time.
Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.
He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don’t ask.
BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a “J” to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.
He can be found on twitter – @michaelJmalone1
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