Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: House Immortal
Author: Devon Monk
Series: House Immortal #1
Heroine/Hero: Matilda Case/Abraham “Seventh” Vail
Genre: M/F Urban Fantasy
Length: 368 Pages
Publisher: Roc (Penguin Group)
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Available at: Roc, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized….
Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.
Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity
The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…
House Immortal is the first book of a new urban fantasy trilogy with the same name from Devon Monk. Set in the near future, it combined the urban fantasy element (urban location, a little magic) with a dip of science fiction. The new modern world is ruled by twelve powerful Houses — each House rules one element, such as water, mineral, agriculture, technology, even people, vice, and defense. There is a thirteenth house, House Brown, which is made up of people living off the grid. Then there are the galvanized … they are immortal non-humans, stitched together like Frankenstein, who have survived a research gone wrong that killed hundreds of people. Now, they are owned by Houses, doing the things that the House leader wants them to. They are also a bit like celebrities among the citizens. All galvanized must belong to a House. Except for Matilda “Tilly” Case — she is the only free stitched. And she is unique, she is special … and now a galvanized has come to her secluded place, and Tilly’s life is going to change.
Gosh, I loved this book so fricking much!! I thought the worldbuilding was exhilaratingly fresh and unique. Since this is the first book, there are a lot of info-dumps to the worldbuilding. Tilly often explains about the galvanized and the Houses and how the modern world worked. The history on how it could come to this point is introduced to readers using bits of a (mysterious) journal, which later proves to be a very significant element to the story-arc.
It took me awhile to get into it, but it was actually faster-paced than a few other first books of urban fantasy series that I follow. Maybe because Devon Monk also brought the action quite early in the game, with Abraham Seventh (the number indicates the order in which the galvanized were brought back to life) coming to Tilly’s grandmother’s farm, bleeding and requesting to meet Tilly’s father (who was murdered by House Black few years back).
Tilly is a protagonist that I truly love — in fact, I probably love her a bit better than Devon Monk’s other female protagonist, Allie Beckstorm. She is strong (she basically manages her grandmother’s farm, dealing with gigantic stitched-animals), fierce, and definitely independent. Even when she is confused and concerned with the problems that Abraham brings to her life, Tilly is determined to get through it all since she needs to protect her grandmother and the people of House Brown. She is also determined to find her genius brother, Quinten, who had been missing for the past three years.
I admit that there were times I was slightly frustrated with the choices that Tilly made (I was worried she fell into a trap of ‘too stupid to see dangers’ and ‘I need to sacrifice myself to save others’ themes) but then again, it was what made the story alive and exciting. It would become dull otherwise, wouldn’t it?
There is a teaser of a developing romance between Tilly and Abraham, but that is not the focus of the story. There are very intriguing secondary characters who I want to know more about. There are surprising developments between the leader of House and the galvanized which is controlled by this evil villain. And there is a doozy cliffhanger that makes me want to fast-forward time to next year so I can get my hand on the sequel.
In conclusion, the characters are well-written, the villain is creepy, and there are twists and a nail-biting action-driven plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. Devon Monk takes this story to places that I couldn’t predict, and I basically put my reading life in her hands and will just go along, because I know she will deliver amazingly.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*