Review: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

TheDeathHouseThe Death House by Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Gollancz
Release date: 26th February 2015
Buy links: Amazon UK
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.

Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.

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My thoughts:

I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I received The Death House I wasn’t really sure what to expect, It sounded really mysterious and almost thriller like. The cover makes it sure looks like that as well.

What I didn’t know, but soon realised is that this is a Young Adult book. And I really enjoyed this story. The story reminded me of a boarding school and all the students are in a pattern of school, playtime and sleep. Although this is of course not a boarding school and the students aren’t healthy! Up to your 18th year your blood is being tested and if it is found to be ‘defective’ you are being send to a big manor house called: The Death House. The kids are there, nurses are there to look for signs of people getting ill and then you are silently taken away in the night to the Sanatorium. Everyone receives their ‘vitamins’ at night and therefore won’t wake up in the middle of the night when they hear things or will be crying in the night.

Now we meet Toby, Toby has decided from the very beginning to not take his ‘vitamins’ as he’s not silly and knows they are anything but. His nights are his and he knows what happens in the night when one of the kids has been taken ill. He knows what the routine is and what the sound of the lift is when they are taking another ill child. The house is seperated into dorms and each dorm look after their own. No mingling in, because what is the point really? Toby is the eldest and therefore the ‘leader’ of the dorm and can’t care much other than staying alive, keeping his dorm on the highest number of not ill, sleeping in the afternoon and feeling ‘free’ in the night.
Will and Louis has stolen my heart in this story, Will is so young and carefree and Louis is smart and they are best mates. Even Ashley, Tom, Jake, Daniel, Clara (of course) and the other girls Henriette and Eleanor all have a little place in my heart.

One day the house gets two new occupants, Tom and Clara. Clara is the new girl and everyone fawns over here except Toby. For Toby she’s just someone who is disturbing the peace, same with Tom. But Clara is also not taking her vitamins from day one and now is sharing the nights with Toby and of course they start to enjoy the nights together and exploring the house.

How Toby is slowly changing throughout the story and how all the little fun things really count really made my heart swell. There is always something worth living for.

I really enjoyed this story, it is mysterious. What does being defective means? What and where is the sanatorium, why are the nurses like this and the Matron, why does she makes certain decisions? I had way more questions and would love to have some more answers, but at the other hand I don’t. Keep the mysteriousness alive.
I am pretty sure people will be talking about this book for a long time. Some will love it and some will hate it. But for me it was a lovely enjoyable book with a bit of mystery thrown in. I have had a few tears and shared a few laughters and enjoying the really Young Adult feel of this book.

‘An exceptional, contemporary, heartbreaking novel’ That’s what on the back of the book and I completely agree with this.

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

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