Review: ‘Slade House’ by David Mitchell

This was my first foray into David Mitchell’s work, which ended up being both confusing and satisfying. Apparently Slade House is set in the same universe as The Bone Clocks, which would have explained some of the more fantastical elements of the story to me. But even without that, I was pleasantly surprised and sufficiently creeped out by this dark tale.

Synopsis: Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .

One of my coworkers got an ARC of this book and I really really wanted to borrow it, but decided to buy the e-book version instead when it went on sale. I don’t read a lot of scary/creepy/horror stories, but this one sounded just weird enough to keep me interested. Each chapter has a different narrator, starting in the 1970s and jumping nine years each time. Although each guest at Slade House is presented with a different scenario, I was beginning to wonder when the plot would progress. After three chapters it was beginning to grow stale… and then it all changed.

I don’t want to give any of the story away, so I won’t go into more detail. The writing was wonderfully descriptive in a way that wasn’t annoying. I’m usually the first person to call out a book for spending too much time on the description of a tree, but Mitchell managed to balance plot and descriptive ambiance quite well. It didn’t really feel like a horror story at the beginning, which is probably why I got so sucked into the story. My biggest complaint about this book is that it is too dependent on the idea that the reader would have read The Bone Clocks beforehand. A short explanation of the different factions present in the story would have made this a very good stand-alone novel.

LC rating: 3-stars (good story, needed some back story for clarity)

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5 thoughts on “Review: ‘Slade House’ by David Mitchell

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  1. Are the books advertised more as companion novels, or is one a sequel? I haven’t read these, but I did watch the movie, which I found terribly confusing. Then again, I saw it in theater and do much better, especially with sci-fi, when I have the subtitles on.


      1. Haha, yeah, all of his books are pretty crazy, so it’s not surprising that you got them mixed up.

        There is no indication on the book (at least the version I have) that it is part of a series. The only reason I even know that it’s set in the same world is because someone on Goodreads pointed it out.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read Slade House last year and then a couple of months ago read The Bone Clocks – I don’t think it’s necessary to have read TBC beforehand, I really loved Slade House without having read TBC first. That said, after I read TBC I immediately wanted to reread Slade House because it made so much more sense! And while The Bone Clocks is really long and can still be a bit confusing because characters use weird terms without explaining them (maybe that’s how all of Mitchell’s books are), it all comes together and was totally worth the 700-ish pages. I’d recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just finished Slade House and really enjoyed it!! Definitely agree with needing more back story. I had heard you could go either way on deciding to read The Bone Clocks first, but now I definitely think it could help. I am going to move TBC up my TBR list. This was my first David Mitchell experience and I loved it!

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