Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Heap House by Edward Carey

Series: The Iremonger Trilogy, Book One
Publisher: Hot Key
Format: Paperback
Published: 7th August 2014
Number of Pages: 400
Book: For Review*
Genre:  Historical, Steampunk, Fantasy, Mystery, Gothic, Action-Adventure, MG, YA-MG Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Mild Swearing, Smoking References
Author's Site: Edward Carey

Clod Iremonger is not supposed to, but he hears a brass door handle saying, “Alice Higgs”.  And his birth object, a universal bath plug, constantly calls out, “James Henry Hayward”.
The rest of the Iremonger family would rather the objects collected from the rubbish heaps of London stayed quiet.  But something is happening.
The objects, piled up inside and around Heap House over generations, are not staying in their place.  With the arrival of Lucy Pennant, everything shifts, and Clod will have to decide where he belongs.

"A Gathering, a Gathering, quieter than the storm!"
The Iremongers are powerful, rich and very peculiar.  They own the heaps – the rubbish – and have built a house (and empire) upon them.
But Clod is even more peculiar than the other Iremongers.  He hears objects talk to him – birth objects, a possession given to each Iremonger as a baby, chosen specifically for them.  His birth object is a bath plug called James Henry Hayward.
When Aunt Rosamund's doorhandle – Alice Higgs – goes missing, things begin to go downhill.
Especially when Lucy Pennant arrives and begins to work as a servant downstairs – and Clod begins to hear the objects say more than just their names for the first time in his life...
It turns out there's a sickness in London.  And in Heaphouse things are changing – strange things keep happening.
Does it have something to do with Clod's strange ability?  With the birth objects?  What secrets lie among the heaps that surround the house of the Iremongers...?
I'd seen Heap House talked about.  I'd thought, yeah, that looks pretty good.  And then I didn't buy it.  But when I heard Olivia Mead talk about the series, heard how excited and in love she was, I knew I needed to read it as soon as possible.  And I am now kicking myself for not picking it up sooner.  Heap House is brilliantly bizarre and bonkers and so, so good!  It is literally perfect for all Lemony Snicket fans – and for anyone who likes crazy steampunk-esque, Victorian-era books.  
Clod was a little odd (ha! that rhymed), but he was brilliant.  Sure, he was a little naive and innocent at times (especially considering his age), but he was inquisitive and clever and funny too.
Lucy was awesome – snarky, curious, rebellious and exactly what I like in a leading girl.
I'm not going to lie to you, their relationship felt a little... not so real.  Maybe it's because it's a MG book and I'm used to YA romances.  Maybe it's because it felt a little quick.  Maybe it's because I'm nit-picking – but I have to nit-pick, especially since this is pretty much my only nit to pick at!  
Ok, this analogy has gotten really weird and kind of gross...
I just want to add that, towards the end, they were kind of totally adorable.  Yes, they fell for one another fast.  But they were very funny when the two of them together, and very cute too.  
Now, I'm going to move onto the rest of the Iremonger family – simply put, that family be crazy!  Crazy and bizarre and absolutely intriguing.  My favourite Iremonger had to be Tummis: he was just so amazing and the sweetest, funniest character ever, bless his cotton socks.  I rather liked Uncle Aliver too – he was brilliant.  I loathed Moorcus and was confused by Grandfather and Grandmother.  The downstairs Iremongers (non-full-blooded family members who still had Iremonger blood, but not enough, and were therefore servants) were almost as quirky as the Upstairs Iremongers.  Basically, the whole supporting cast was kooky and intriguing and often hilarious.
I adored Carey's writing: it was so fitting with the time period, so exciting and intriguing and brilliant.  I loved that we got multiple POVs – our two main narrators were Clod and Lucy, but we got journal snippets from various other members of the Iremonger family.  This mode of storytelling was brilliant and kept me utterly hooked.  As did the plot: from the moment Heap House began, the story grabbed me and refused to let go.  It's hard to write too much about the plot – no spoilers! – but I adored it.  It was dark and addictive and suspenseful and mysterious and intriguing – but with funny moments too, to lighten the heap up!
This world was pure genius!  It was grittier, dirtier and way more interesting than any Victorian-era setting Dickens wrote about.  It had elements of steampunk in it (AKA, one of my favourite ever genres and fashion style), but mostly it was dark and dirty and made of curious objects and whispering voices and piles of rubbish...  It was like Victorian grunge-punk...  OK, that's not a thing, forget that.  But seriously, I was totally hooked by this creepy world and was absolutely desperate to find out all of its hidden, dirty little secrets.
I'm finding it really hard to describe Heap House well, to find the words to do my feels justice.  It was just so bonkers and so brilliant and so much fun to read!  I never knew what to expect, didn't want to stop reading and was absolutely desperate for Foulsham the moment I put Heap House down!  I mean, that ending...  Wow!  Talk about huge finales and shock cliff-hangers!
Seriously, though: it you are looking for something fun and unique to read, love Lemony Snicket and a book that can make you laugh, think and sit on the edge of your seat, Heap House is an absolute must read!  

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Map To Everywhere by Carrie Ryan
Wells & Wong by Robin Stevens

Happy Reading

* This book was received from HotKey in exchange for an honest review

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