Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

WANTED: A bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life’s finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.

Marion has spent all of her short life in the slums of Prane, with what little money she earns disappearing into the pockets of her brother. When she spots an ad in the matrimonial section, she thinks why not, and she ends up at the of the door of a taster. A man whose job it is to find new bloodmaid for the nobles of the north. Nobles who drink blood.

House of Hunger is not a vampire story, the secondary world setting made it feel like it wasn’t particularly shocking or unusual that rich people in the north hired servants to donate blood. Maybe it’s a bit eccentric, or it’s for health reasons, but Marion has no reason to fear signing up for the job.

Her hand is decided for her when an incident and home forces her to take safety in the north. Plus the job isn’t forever and she’ll be left with an impressive pension when her youth fades. It almost seems too good to be true…

It’s a slow burn gothic horror, and unless you’re squeamish about blood, it’s not high level scary. It starts off more rags to riches, as Marion takes up her new role and is fed lavish food and dressed in fine clothes. She lives with four other bloodmaids, along with all the petty jealousy you’d expect from those pitted against each other for the honour of being first bloodmaid.

She might feel uncomfortable being part of the games the courts play and, for much of it, all you think Marion has to fear is the other servants or guests of the house. The bloodletting is just part of her job, and she feels like she means something to Lisavet, Countess of the House of Hunger. But eventually things don’t quite add up, and the horror you’ve been waiting for kicks in.

This was a different kind of story than The Year of the Witching, but probably a bit more on the entertaining side.

House of Hunger is published by Transworld and is available now in hardback, ebook and audiobook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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