House of Hunger
WANTED - Bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life’s finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.
A young woman is drawn into the upper echelons of a society where blood is power in this dark and enthralling Gothic novel from the author of The Year of the Witching.
Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she know. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a peculiar listing in the newspaper seeking a bloodmaid.
Though she knows little about the far north—where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service—Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery. At the center of it all is Countess Lisavet.
The countess, who presides over this hedonistic court, is loved and feared in equal measure. She takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when she discovers that the ancient walls of the House of Hunger hide even older secrets, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home—and fast—or its halls will soon become her grave.
Breathlessly paced and dripping with gothic decadence, Henderson's second novel (after The Year of the Witching) cements her status as one of horror's best new voices. Marion Shaw toils away in the poor South of Prane, dreaming of escaping her miserable life of low pay and abuse for the North, where rich nobles from old money live in debauched elegance, drinking the blood of young women called bloodmaids to keep themselves healthy and preserve their youth. After Marion applies for one of these bloodmaid positions, she is whisked away to the service of Countess Lisavet of the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is pampered beyond her wildest dreams, but also drained of blood daily for the reclusive and chronically ill countess, who needs the supply of several bloodmaids to stay alive. Marion rises to become Lisavet's favorite, and their bond deepens beyond servant and mistress. But Marion also grows close to her fellow bloodmaids, and when her new friends fall physically and mentally ill, Marion must risk her opulent new life and budding love with Lisavet to uncover the truth about the House of Hunger and the role of the bloodmaids. It's a fascinating new spin on vampires that combines gory but gorgeous imagery and searing social commentary. This compulsively readable novel gives readers something to sink their teeth into.