What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
Published by Tor Nightfire on July 12, 2022
Genres: Horror, Re-Telling
Pages: 165
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble
Add to: Goodreads

What Moves the Dead is Kingfisher's retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher.”
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.


Long and Short of it: Great writing, but ultimately just a basic retelling with a well-known impetus.

I previously read The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher which absolutely creeped me out. It was a great horror book. When I saw the cover for What Moves the Dead and that it was written by T. Kingfisher, I absolutely knew I would need to read it. I was hoping to be terrified or creeped out. I was hoping for the original tale of The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe to be expanded on, build upon. Instead, to me, it seemed too little was changed and what was changed, was nothing new.

There was an interesting concept wrapped into this retelling regarding pronouns, though that seemed shoehorned into the story. At no point did it play a role in anything that happened, so it seemed like a weird choice to include it in such a short story. Instead, I would’ve loved this pronoun hierarchy in a full length novel or series.

The expansion of Poe’s original story comes down to something that may have been creepy and shocking a few years back, but is becoming old lately. View Spoiler » Even knowing this, I still thought the descriptions were creepy in a great way, and the writing itself was still a joy to read.

I think I would recommend What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher, but only for those looking for a light creep read.


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