What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher is a story of friendship, fungi, and death. If you’re looking for an atmospheric gothic horror novel to sink into, then look no further!
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher
I had no idea what to expect when opening this book. I had heard that it was a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher“, but as I hadn’t read that classic, I was excited to find out what was in store!
When the story begins, we meet our main character, Alex Easton, who is traveling to visit old friends, Madeline and Roderick Usher. The trip isn’t a fun one as Alex was visiting only after getting notice that Madeline is dying.
When approaching the manor, Alex is immediately wary. The building itself has seen better days and the land around it isn’t much either. But inside, when Alex first sees the old friends, the shock over the dreary manor and land quickly pales in comparison to the appearances of Madeline and Roderick.
As Alex spends more time at the manor, things only seem to get more strange.
From cover to cover, the atmosphere that the author has created here is so vivid that you can almost feel the damp and smell the musty air. The mystery that is laid out is a slow burn, but once the spark finally ignites, it’s an intense burn until the end!
I was so unsettled the whole time I was reading this. I caught myself rubbing my arms a few times while reading. Just thinking about what was going on with poor Madeline makes me want to do it again now!
Needless to say, this one got under my skin.
My Favorite Passages from What Moves The Dead
I did not know how to deal with this sort of death, the one that comes slow and inevitable and does not let go. I am a soldier, I deal in cannonballs and rifle shots. I understand how a wound can fester and kill a soldier, but there is still the initial wound, something that can be avoided with a little skill and a great deal of luck. Death that simply comes and settles is not a thing I had any experience with.
This place breeds nightmares.
It sounded ridiculous when I said it out loud. I was grasping at straws and I knew it. But to his credit, Denton was apparently willing to grasp those straws alongside me.
There were three veterans at that table, battle-scarred soldiers who had served their countries honorably in more than one war . . . and all three of us screamed like small children and recoiled in horror.
We did not run. If we ran then we would have to admit that there was something to run from. If we ran, then the small child that lives in every soldier’s heart knew that the monsters could get up. So we did not run, but it was a near thing.
My Final Thoughts on What Moves The Dead
If gothic horror is your jam, you’re going to LOVE this. I had a blast reading this one! It’s a book that certainly takes up residence in your mind and just keeps growing on you.
And let me tell you, this story will haunt you. Be prepared for the next time you see a short white hair on your body when you weren’t expecting to see one!
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karl @ karl's book blog says
i just finished this one! i agree—the atmosphere really carried this book for me. i also hadn’t read the poe short story, so everything was a pleasant surprise. glad you enjoyed it too!
Erica Robyn says
<3 Thanks so much for stopping by! I may need to read the Poe tale now, but I'm probably going to be biased toward this one! It was just so darn good!
This is on my wish list. I love Poe, though it’s been quite a while since I’ve read the original story.
Erica Robyn says
I’m hearing awesome feedback from other readers as well. I hope you love it! 🙂