4.25 stars for the story, 3 for the narrator. I'm familiar with Avi Roque through their voice work for The Owl House, and their narration in Lakelore. I don't think they're a bad narrator per se, I know they have voice acting talent, but some parts of this narration felt flat when they should be, and others a tad bit too expressive to take seriously. It took away from some of the horror, which is a shame because I'm sure if I just read a hard copy I would have found the writing creepier. Although, the different character voices were very distinctive and I liked that there was clearly attention kept to accents and how different annunciations were in the text.
The story itself is a little slow, but overall intriguing. It's a retelling of "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" by Edgar Allen Poe, a story that, to be honest, I didn't really expect to be retold(and I haven't read). I also know a little bit of trivia about the book itself: Kingfisher was debating releasing it, due to the horror elements overlapping with the final twist of Mexican Gothic. I also haven't read that book, but the use of fungal horror in "What Moves The Dead" was pretty interesting and I liked the gorey body horror we got. The protagonist themself is also interesting: Gallacia is a country with a clearly established history and effect on its world, but I wish we got more on Alex. They're a retired war soldier struggling with PTSD, and although I liked the explorations of those psychological effects that we got in regard to the story, Alex wasn't explored as a character enough(as the emphasis was more on the gothic setting and horrific events). And about the plot, I've seen a reviewer on StoryGraph say this felt "predicting, but in the way that made you feel clever" and it's a sentiment I agree with.
Smaller note, but I liked the casual representation! Alex Easton is nonbinary, referred to with masculine terms, and what I'm assuming is an in-universe equivalent of they/them(Gallacia uses a different language). (All I remember is that it's an in-universe neopronoun that soldiers used, as most were gender non-conforming. A few reviews seem to get the pronouns mixed up though, some going with he/him likely because they're referred to with terms like "sir" or "man", but the official summary on Amazon uses they/them pronouns.) The only other written review up on this platform misgenders them though, I'm not sure if that will throw other users for a loop but I can't correct that person in a reply so I'm doing that here. (P.S., if that person is reading this review and is wondering how I thought that, please just look to the official summary and the fact that there was a trans narrator for this audiobook.)
I'll be reading the sequel for sure! I just don't know if I'll listen to it like I did this one.
seems like a young adult version of horror. I think a book about the war the lead character was in (which she constantly mentioned for little reason) would be much more interesting. it also seems like the author doesn't know the rule of chekhov's gun.
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