In my Hill House review I stated that I rarely reread books and of course, since I put that out into the universe, the fates aligned, and I’m now rereading my second book this month. I was in a pinch and Slade House fits the parameters I was shooting for with this month’s theme.
Every nine years Slade House’s owners invite a lonely visitor to this impossible house that’s only open for that one day. The visitor might find what they are looking for, but they should worry more about escaping Slade House.
I liked Slade House when I read it a little under five years ago, but there was a major hindrance that was keeping me from loving it. I was wondering if that element would hold me up again. Short answer: Yes. And I think more so on this reread.
Overall, this was such a frustrating book. The book is broken down into five short stories that are nine years apart from each other. The first three stories were very similar in format, and I love everything but the last 5% in each story. The end of each story was the antagonists just dumping exposition and it was way too much. Also didn’t help that I didn’t find them that interesting.
The fourth story was the strongest probably because it was the most consistent, but sadly it only compounded my frustration with how exposition was handled in the first three stories. The fourth story, You Dark Horse You, is a culmination of the prior three and goes into the backstory of the antagonists. Thus a majority of the information dumped was then repeated in the fourth tale.
I just think Mitchell gave away the goodies too soon. Those endings should’ve given the smallest of breadcrumbs, that way by You Dark Horse You we are begging to know the darkness behind Slade House. Instead the reader already knows enough to piece together what the antagonists are up to, the background story just fills in details.
I don’t want to harp on the negatives, there is plenty to like about Slade House and I know many who love it. Mitchell is a strong writer and storyteller, and I was still interested in this reread in the stories of those who encounter Slade House. I just wish all the parts were equal in quality.
**Forgot to mention that references to Mitchell’s previous works are in here, especially The Bone Clocks. I didn’t have any issues (I’ve only read Cloud Atlas and almost ten years past since I read it) until the very end. It seems a character in the last story is from The Bone Clocks universe and even though I still knew what was happening, I got a touch confused for a second. All in all I think the whole thing stands alone fine if you haven’t read Mitchell’s other works. **