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June 30, 2011 / Tracey

Review: House of the Lost | Sarah Rayne

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Author Sarah Rayne features regularly on my reading list, so you could rightly say I’m a fan. I’ve read 4 of her novels so far, and I’ve been looking forward to reading House of the Lost since it’s publication last year.


In past reviews, I’ve commented on Rayne’s repeated use of an old, derelict, and menacing building – which contains secrets from the past – to form the focus of each of her novels. This plot style always makes for a great read, and in my review of A Dark Dividing, I made the following comment: “I love this formula, however it does make her books instantly familiar on the one hand and a little predictable on the other”.

Well, this time the author blew me away! She swept aside her old plot style and developed a complex narrative, weaving together a mystery that was a delight to unravel. There were many threads, some taking me to very dark places, much darker than any of her other books I’ve read (The Death Chamber, Tower of Silence , Spider Light and A Dark Dividing).

Rayne was able to plunge deep into the psyche of several characters and reveal their many layers. We also see how both human suffering and love drives and shapes characters throughout the course of their lives.

I always know Rayne is going to bring all the threads together in the end, and I enjoyed watching how each of the stories began to intersect and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. (On a lighter note, there was one point in the book that I was reminded of Flowers in the Attic, and flooded with pleasant reading memories).

I must say, House of the Lost is less of the horror/thriller that initially attracted me to the author, and more mystery/drama. Having said that, Rayne seems more serious about her writing, and I’m looking forward to reading her next book, What Lies Beneath.

My rating = ****

That’s my four bucks!

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