I Couldn’t Finish This Book

Malice House

I just couldn’t bring myself to care about result of Megan Shepherd’s Malice House. Now, this is a bit odd, because there was a lot that this book had going for it. Much to my dismay, it didn’t fully capitalize on any of it. For example, the story within the story, Bedtime Stories for Monsters, sounds incredible. Now, be warned. From here on in, this review does contain spoilers.

Several times (if not most of the time) while I was reading Malice House, I wished Shepherd would have forgotten about the novel entirely and had just written this incredible anthology of short stories featuring unnerving and fascinating monsters.

I’m not joking. The short snippets of this imaginative anthology are so much more enticing than the novel itself.

Malice House also has one of the most disappointing reveals I’ve experienced in a long time. There’s a mysterious event that’s alluded to over and over and over and over. As a reader, if I’m being severely teased, I want it to pay off. That doesn’t happen. The reveal was as exciting as air being let out of a balloon. The main character reveals that she didn’t kill her abusive husband. No, wait, boyfriend, because as Shepherd revealed in the novel’s opening, they were never legally married anyway due to a paperwork error.

Seriously? Shepherd felt the need to tease readers for nearly 80% of the book for THAT?

What really made me start to sour toward this book was the main character, Haven. Not only does Haven hit a man with his car as he’s getting his mail (and then immediately think of how to avoid taking any blame), but she also begrudges her famous author father for posthumously donating his private journals to a university library. Who begrudges someone for donating their personal belongings to a library?!

The monsters are the shining star of this book, and they aren’t featured enough. Shepherd’s incredible world within a world is annoyingly screened off within her book. A similar feeling would be watching someone eat ice cream through a window, while you’re stuck outside eating sour grapes.

Readers looking for great horror that features interesting and complex heroines, should absolutely check out The Good House by Tananarive Drive or Rachel Harrison’s The Return. Of course, not every book is for every reader. Art is subjective, and if your curious to see if your views align with mine on Malice House, you can get a copy of it here:

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