[Review] House Immortal by Devon Monk

Fry's Reviews, Reviews 0 Comments 18th April, 2015

[Review] House Immortal by Devon MonkHouse Immortal by Devon Monk
Series: House Immortal
Published by Roc on September 2nd, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 336
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars
One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized....

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…

Man, it’s been a tough two months. I didn’t mean to disappear so suddenly. I feel like everyone in my house has been sick since mid-February. They might possibly have been. I couldn’t focus on reading and  couldn’t write reviews and I was just a big ball of useless. I’m actually starting to feel better now, so here’s hoping that everything is looking up from here on out!

This is totally my first time reading Devon Monk, which is silly, because she has a huge bibliography already. No matter, I finally got into her books after looking into getting on the Ace/Roc Street Team and realizing that I hadn’t really read very many of the imprint’s offerings (I’m still laughing over it being called that, that’s what baby ducks do). Anyway, that prompted me to pick up her books first. That, and the fact that they were the first ones I found at my local library. Laziness reigns supreme.

I was actually really surprised at how much I liked it. It’s strange, because overall not much actually happens in the book. It obviously suffers from having a truncated timeline, much like the Merry Gentry books, but I didn’t find myself hating it for that. The book covers about three days, overall, and a lot happens. Yes, it ends in a pretty obnoxious cliffhanger, but it could have been a lot worse.

This brings me to the world building. I don’t know what it says about the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genre when we’ve resorted to sexy Frankenstein monsters.  Not that that’s a bad thing, overall. It was very different and interesting. The entire mythology behind these people is told throughout the book, but is also hinted at overall in the over chapter text (does that have a name?). I love when that ties in so well with the story and offers a better insight.

There is a group of twelve people in this universe, who, through the course of being caught up in a time experiment gone awry, have become Immortal. Even though they’re immortal, they don’t Wolverine heal, so a lot of their body is stitched up with special thread that aids in healing. Our main character is a hidden thirteenth of this type, her consciousness transferred into the body of an Immortal when she was young and ill by her ingenious brother. The original owner of the body had been in a coma for many years, and if other mind to immortal mind transfers have shown me anything, it is that the original person in the body she’s now using died with her young, sickly one.

Matilda, of course, remained hidden for most of her life, and the beginning events of the book are her discovery and introduction to the world. Despite being Immortal, her type has no rights in this universe, having revoked them themselves. They are also indentured servants to the main players in this universe, Houses that are color coded and run specific specialties (blue is water, yellow is technology, green is agriculture, white is medical and so on). The entire story of how that came to be isn’t entirely revealed yet. We only got to the point where we find out her ancestors were involved in some catastrophic ways.

Anyway, the story starts when an Immortal from House Grey shows up on her doorstep and whisks her off for her own safety. Her story line is full of power plays and an attempt to be independent and stick to her belief system. It’s all very fascinating. Through it all, she’s also attempting to find her brother, who is on loan to another house. Her brilliant brother is taken by one of the heads of house and forced to transfer the head’s mind into the Immortal indentured to him. You’d think that’d be a bad idea, considering the Immortals do not have rights, but leave it to a megalomaniac to attempt it anyway.

The book is a tangled web of plots within plots. There’s the overarching thing with the Immortals themselves and the time event that caused them to be this way, there’s a whole thing with the independent House Brown, there’s even some double crossing and spying happening. It all weaves a very interesting tale. I didn’t want to read the second book until I finished this review, lest I get confused and not be able to keep plot points straight. Needless to say, it’s written and I’m totally going to delve into Infinity Bell as soon as I can.

If you want something that takes things you’re used to, this is a great take on the urban fantasy and dystopian genres. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Written by Fry

Fry

Probably in a dungeon somewhere. Game Master for the D’n’D actual play podcast Roll For Wenches .

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