06 January 2015

Today's Read: Heap House by Edward Carey

Heap House by Edward CareyWhat if you could hear objects talking to you? Young Clod Iremonger's "talent" helps him learn more about his family's sacred belongings, but it also leads him to some unexpected discoveries when those objects begin to disappear. As chaos and danger threaten, will Clod be able to save the day?

It all really began, all the terrible business that followed, on the day my Aunt Rosamud's door handle went missing. It was my aunt's particular door handle, a brass one. It did not help that she had been all over the mansion the day before with it, looking for things to complain about as was her habit. She had stalked through every floor, she had been up and down staircases, opening doors at every opportunity, finding fault. And during all her thorough investigations she insisted that her door handle was about her, only now it was not. Someone, she screamed, had taken it.
Heap House by Edward Carey (The Overlook Press, 2014, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: alternate history Victorian Britain, in a strange house on top of London's rubbish heap
  • Circumstances: When fifteen-year-old Clod and downstairs servant Lucy Pennant team up to figure out what's gone wrong with the Iremongers' Birth Objects, they uncover strange family secrets.
  • Characters: Clod Iremonger, a sickly teen; mean Aunt Rosamud; feisty servant Lucy Pennant; various Iremonger cousins and adults (not all of them pleasant)
  • Genre & audience: Gothic mystery for middle grade and young teen readers, but fun for the whole family
  • Themes: family; friendship (a bit of romance?); secrets; upstairs / downstairs; sense of self; our relationship with our belongings
  • General thoughts: I've truly just started this, but I'm taken with the fun creepiness of the book and the fractured names of the Iremongers. I like that the story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Clod and Lucy and that the Birth Objects are crazy things, like safety pins and bathtub plugs, and that they have ordinary human names. I also can't resist the black-and-white drawings (by author Edward Carey) and the maps of the house.
  • Miscellaneous: This first in a planned trilogy. If you want to know more about the books, see some of the drawings, and discover your very own Birth Object (mine's a key!), check out the Iremonger Trilogy website.
  • Recommendations: I haven't read enough to make a real recommendation, but if you like Gothic, a clever story, and a bit of creepiness mixed in with some deeper themes, then you'll want to give Heap House a try.


Unknown 1/6/15, 8:28 AM  

Sounds pretty weird!

Happy New Year! I have a quote from a Grisham legal thriller this week:


bermudaonion 1/6/15, 8:45 AM  

I love the cover but it sounds too fantastical for me.

kayerj 1/6/15, 9:26 AM  

wow, that's quite the beginning--carrying a door knob around to open doors. I'd read a bit more. Have a nice week. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

JoAnn 1/6/15, 10:15 AM  

Might be a little too strange for me, but I hope you like it!

Unknown 1/6/15, 10:39 AM  

I don't think this would be for me, but I hope you enjoy it.

Laurel-Rain Snow 1/6/15, 10:48 AM  

Oh, this one does sound like fun...I love quirky and sometimes crazy characters.

Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “CALL ME ZELDA”

Tea 1/6/15, 11:34 AM  

I really like this one. Now she has something to really scream about, a missing brass door knob.

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) 1/6/15, 11:56 AM  

Sounds like that has the potential to get very intense! I'll have to remember that title!

Nise' 1/6/15, 11:59 AM  

I would have overlooked this book. I like the premise and creepiness of it.

Sandra Nachlinger 1/6/15, 12:02 PM  

This story sounds delightfully weird. Although I rarely read young adult fiction, this sounds like a fun escape that I'd enjoy. Thanks for drawing my attention to a book I would otherwise not have discovered.
My Tuesday post features LEARNIN’ THE ROPES.

Sarah's Book Shelves 1/6/15, 2:14 PM  

I tend to have trouble with books involving special powers, so I'd probably skip this one. But, hope you enjoy it!

Cleopatra Loves Books 1/6/15, 2:21 PM  

Happy New Year Beth, it sounds quite an eclectic choice but I do hope you've enjoyed it.


Literary Feline 1/6/15, 2:50 PM  

This does sound appealing!

Kim@Time2Read 1/6/15, 3:03 PM  

This one sounds different. Love the quirky aunt already! But I'm not sure I want to commit to a trilogy.

Unknown 1/6/15, 3:21 PM  

It sounds creepalicious! The title, the excerpt, the characters name, and that wacky, fun cover.
Thanks for sharing this book. I would never have noticed it.

Here's my TT - http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/01/06/teaser-tuesdays-94-awol/

Anonymous,  1/6/15, 3:48 PM  

Sounds a little too different for me.

Belle Wong 1/6/15, 6:55 PM  

I have this out from the library right now - I hope I can get to it before it has to go back. Thanks for the link to the site!

Anonymous,  1/6/15, 7:40 PM  

Gothic mystery!? YES PLEASE - thanks for sharing.

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 1/6/15, 7:46 PM  

I could not get into this when I tried to read it around Halloween, but I might have to try again!

Monica's Bookish Life 1/6/15, 10:14 PM  

I haven't heard of this book, and I'm not it's something I'd read. But I would keep going just to make sure! I'll look forward to your thoughts.

Margot 1/7/15, 12:38 AM  

I love the name Clod Iremonger. That name and the first paragraph made me think Dickens. Sounds like a trilogy my granddaughter and I could read.

Karen and Gerard 1/7/15, 5:32 AM  

This sounds like a very strange one! Good teaser.

Daryl 1/7/15, 9:31 AM  

i am charmed .. my birth object is Violet Amanda Snagsby and its a large pot or maybe its a what do you call it a sort of scoop/mug used to ladle water out of a bucket .. whatever ... i love it!

Trisha 1/7/15, 12:20 PM  

This sounds amazing. I love Carey's illustrations and the story is perfectly creepy.

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