Tag Archives: House of Usher

New Fantasies for Adults: The Splendid City and What Moves the Dead

13 Jul

The Splendid City
by Karen Heuler

This was my first time reading a novel by Heuler, but I was intrigued by the recommendation that The Splendid City would appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman, always a favorite of mine. This dystopian novel revolves around a young witch named Eleanor. After turning her irritating coworker Stan into a cat, the two of them have been banished to Liberty, part of the United States that has broken away from the rest of the country after a recent contemptuous election. The current president is represented by talking mechanical heads and crowds of people are distracted from the latest disasters by tasty nougats. The Splendid City is clever, thought provoking and filled with dark whimsy that provides plenty to chew on. Can Eleanor solve the case of the missing witch that might also be the solution to the water shortage? Will Stan find the mysterious treasure? This novel is a quirky political satire written as surreal fairytale/fable for adults.

What Moves The Dead
by T. Kingfisher

The House of Usher, which was first published in 1839 in Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine, has always been one of my favorite Poe short stories so I couldn’t resist checking out T. Kingfisher’s retelling, What Moves the Dead. Kingfisher fleshes out the Poe’s short story with more fully developed characters, but keeps the haunting gothic quality of the original. In this version the narrator is Alex Easton a retired Gallacian soldier, who was assigned female at birth but began using a gender neutral pronoun, ka, specifically used by the military for soldiers in the Gallacia’s language, comes to visit kan friends the Ushers when ka hears kan friend Madeline is ill. Also in the mix are an American doctor and British Mycologist, but time is running out to uncover the mysteries of the House of Usher. Besides her other adult novels, Kingfisher also writes books for children under her name Ursula Vernon.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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