Book Review: What Moves the Dead

07.12.2022 | Tor Nightfire
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves. Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

Has anyone else been wanting more mushrooms in their horror since reading Mexican Gothic?? Well if you loved the vibes of that book, I think this novella might just be the horror read you need! 

I had never read The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, so when I found out this novella was based on it, I quickly picked up the short story to prepare. While I don’t think it’s required to read the source material because of how unique Kingfisher’s take is on the story, I do recommend at least checking it out after if you don’t have time before. 

Now on to my thoughts of What Moves the Dead…it’s brilliant! This is easily one of my favorite gothic, atmospheric, and creepy horror novellas I’ve read to date. I loved all of the characters and the narrator, Easton, is fantastic. I was intrigued from the start to know more about the Ushers and their strange estate. I adored Kingfisher’s writing style and will definitely be pulling The Hollow Places off my shelf to read soon!

A huge thank you to Tor Nightfire for my gifted copy!

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