What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

This might be controversial, but I enjoyed T. Kingfisher’s What Moves the Dead more than Poe’s original The Fall of the House of Usher.


Alex Easton, a non-binary retired soldier, receives a letter from Madeline Usher stating that she is dying and wants Alex to visit her before she passes. Alex immediately hastens to the Usher estate. Along the way, they notice funky-looking mushrooms, a lake with an unnatural quality, and certain animals moving and behaving strangely.

When they finally reach the property, Alex is surprised to learn their visit is unexpected. It turns out that Madeline’s twin, Roderick, had no idea that she had written to Alex.

Despite both Ushers looking worse for wear in their crumbling mansion, the first few days of Alex’s visit occur without incident. But as time passes, things begin to take a frightening turn.

Review of What Moves the Dead

This fun and creepy novella entirely follows Alex’s perspective. It’s categorized as horror, but it’s not as scary as I was expecting, which is good since I scare easily. It is highly atmospheric with palpable tension – I almost felt like I was right beside Alex the entire time. The writing style embodies the gothic time period but doesn’t feel dry.

There are some gory descriptions, as one might expect from the genre. I also appreciated the humour, which helped balance out the tenser sections. And the queer representation was a nice inclusion as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and only wish it was a smidge longer. This was my first time reading T. Kingfisher, and I think I’ll seek out The Twisted Ones next.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 12 July 2022

Thank you to Tor Nightfire for providing me with a widget via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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