For writers who need to back fateful encounters with reason, cyclical evils hold strong allure. It’s easy when you make the Big Bad come knocking every 10, 20, or 250 years: you just have to stage your heroes correctly to make plot events look preordained. Any trope — especially a common one — can be misplayed, but don’t worry: David Mitchell sets up the Slade House dominoes to fall in perfect sequence.
This world-building book connects Mitchell’s other works — most notably, The Bone Clocks. It isn’t the first time the author has created crossover characters between disparate novels, but Mitchell is fully embracing his literary universe with Slade House, saying: “Everything I will do will be in this universe. Even if it’s the book after the next one I do, which will be set around the turn of the first millennium.”
Releasing on October 27, just in time for Halloween, Slade House centers on the titular estate, accessible only through a tiny, iron door in Slade Alley. Individuals and groups of varying sizes find their way inside every nine years, and their disappearances eventually place the manor at the center of a cult-like urban legend. Characters’ fascinations with those who have gone before bring them back to become the next victims of Slade House’s malevolent inhabitants.
Slade House may employ a much-used gimmick, but it’s slickly done. By the time you realize you’ve been duped into reading about yet another cyclic horror, you’re too engrossed to put it down. Mitchell gives readers just enough of the familiar, weird, and scientifically machinatious to keep them turning pages all night long.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for this review.
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