All Hail The House Gods – Andrew J. Stone
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’ve followed Stone for a bit on Twitter and he’s always seemed like a nice enough guy. Throughout this time, he’s offered up ‘All Hail the House Gods,’ for review a few times and for whatever reason, I’ve always passed. I wasn’t sure if this was a novella for me or not. I have read a few Bizarro releases and have typically loved the base story but at times disliked some of the character interactions.
Recently he offered it up again and this time I decided to reach out. Boy, am I glad I did.
The last time I read something that felt this different, this unique and truly engulfed me in its story was ‘A House at the Bottom of the Lake’ by Josh Malerman.
In my view, this was more post-apocalyptic folklore than anything Bizarro.
We follow a couple in a dystopian future where in order for humans to survive in this new future, they must systematically sacrifice their own children to sentient Houses who live on the other side of the river. This felt like Mad Max meets a children’s cartoon but in the best way possible.
The role of humans is now to procreate, continue providing children to the Gods so that they don’t destroy the remaining inhabitants.
As things unfold, Stone gives us brief glimpses of the past, of what led to the current situation and I loved it. While I wanted more, I think he gives you enough, fills in the gaps so that we see the why, and can connect to the main characters.
The plot moves along when our main characters wife decides she will not let her children be sacrificed and Stone uses this as a great way to create and build tension but also gives us tangible reasons as to why some of the decisions that follow are made.
Then the ending. Wow.
I absolutely loved the ending and it absolutely worked for me –saying that, I can see why for some this could end up being a divisive ending. It was blunt, to the point and had a great air of finality, but for some they may insist that Stone could have expanded it. I personally loved it and am so happy he wrapped things up how he did.
This is a book that falls firmly into the ‘what did I just read’ category, but in the best way possible. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I’m kicking myself I didn’t read it sooner. It has very topical themes rolling throughout it, but at the same time it was a great read that lets you suspend your belief and let Stone throw his imagination at you.
This one’s going to be staying with me for some time.
One of the best things I’ve read in years.
All Hail The House Gods
Author Andrew J. Stone (The Mortuary Monster) envisions a unique dystopia where harmony and happiness means feeding our children to sentient, human-eating houses.
Can the House Gods be defeated?
One family is about to find out…
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here