Review: The Death House – by Sarah Pinborough

the-death-house-sarah-pinborough1Synopsis: Toby’s life was perfectly normal… until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House: an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.

No one returns from the sanatorium.

Title: The Death House
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Gollancz
Pub Date: 26th February 2015
ISBN: 9781473202320
Pages: 288

I was provided a review copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3stars

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book. It was a quick and easy read (about 4 hours from cover to cover) but did I enjoy it? What constitutes a good book nowadays, anyway?

For me, there’s two different types of ‘good books’ – there are those that will suck you in, and spit you back out on the last page feeling disorientated, lost and a little emotionally drained. These are the epic fantasies, the thought-provoking classics, the spine-chilling thrillers.

But there are other books that I enjoy for their light relief. We can’t always read the epic books – personally, I’d be too drained to do anything else with my day. Sometimes, all you need is an easy read to pass the time with.

The Death House is one of these books. The plot is not overly complex, there is just enough suspense to keep you going and a bit of love thrown in for good measure.

I would have liked a bit more history behind the ‘defective’ gene, however. There were so many questions bubbling in my head by the end that I felt unsatisfied with the lack of answers. When did it start happening? Why was there no cure? When did they start taking kids into the Death House? Has anyone survived?

I also felt some of the characters weren’t worked on enough. For example, the matron, the most frightening adult in a child’s existence came across as dangerous, but not terrifying.

What I did like about The Death House, however, was that it reminded me of Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, which is my favourite poem.

Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

We’re all doomed to die, it’s how we live that is important.

How I choose to live is with lots of lots of books, a bookshelf to put them on and a cup of tea.

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