Wednesday, March 4, 2015

*Book Review* House Immortal by Devon Monk

Series: House Immortal # 1
Publisher: Penguin Group
Released: September 2, 2014
Source: Amazon purchase
Format: Ebook, 368 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy

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.

House Immortal is the first installment in a brand new series by Devon Monk. The story is mostly told in the first person narrative by Matilda "Tilly" Case, but also contains several chapters from the villains perspective. What a way to start out a series. Monk has created a semi-Doctor Moreau feel to the story with his mixture of stitched animals. Animals like Lizard (part Iguana, Crocodile, and Kimono Dragon). You have the leapers who are Tree Octopuses that eat apples. There's Pony (horse, zebra, bison, unicorn combination). Then there are the cockatrice which is a cobbling together of a chicken, lizard and bat.

Mix in together a bit of Dr. Frankenstein's world, and you get the 12 Galvanized men and women who are immortal, are basically indestructible, have been cobbled together with other body parts, and have been around since the early 20th century thanks to an experiment gone wrong. Monks world is always interesting to check out, as are her characters. This is a world that is about a century into the future. One could perhaps call this science fiction/dystopian, and not be wrong. It is a world that is run by 12 houses who rule the universe. There are no more countries. The houses govern all aspects from water, agriculture, medical, entertainment, and technology.

But, it is Matilda (Tilly) Case that is the most impressive. She, like the Galvanized, has a body that has been stitched together. She, however, was raised human, and saved by her brother Quinton. Quinton kept her a secret from the Houses that would do anything to use her, control her, while controlling Quinton's technology which can make them Immortal. Tilly is a wonderful character. She in basically self-sufficient while watching over her grandmother on her families farm. She even hired a 2 headed man named Neds to help her out. As an independent member of the powerless House Brown, she brings together resources where ever she can find them.

With the arrival of Abraham Seventh to her doorstep, Tilly's world turns upside down. No longer can feel safe in the world. Especially when Abraham claims that he's there to protect her from the other houses, and offers House Gray's strength and resources to help keep her safe. I think Tilly's character is definitely interesting. She puts her trust in someone she barely knows, but isn't afraid to kick ass and take names. She leaves her farm and ventures into a world where the Galvanized, like her, have no rights, and houses demand loyalty and servitude from them.

But, she never forgets about protecting what is hers; Quinton and her Grandmother Lara Case. I did worry, for a minute, that Tilly was a bit naive, but that works. How can you truly not expect a heroine who hasn't ventured outside of her farm for years, to not act a bit pensive, nervous, or worried about what will happen to her family & friends? There are also plenty of family secrets to keep readers entertained, including brief passages by someone named LUC. <--No secret as to who this is.

House Immortal is a story filled with nuisances. You must have patience as Monk explains the houses, what they control, and what color the people who work for them wear. You must have patience when Monk introduces you to the 12 Galvanized Immortals who don't have any rights or freedoms of their own. But, you can always count on Monk to provide readers their share of conspiracies, betrayals, secrets and revelations throughout the story. In fact, it is the ending that has me most looking forward to reading Infinity Bell next.

There is a bit, I say a bit, of romance, but not enough to take away from the storyline, or the intense feeling that something horrific will happen at any moment. I do enjoy reading books that explore new things, and Monk has definitely done that with House Immortal. I shall also say that the villain of this story is particularly nasty, and I wouldn't send my worst enemy into his house for anything in this world, or the next.

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