“The dead don’t walk. Except, sometimes, when they do.”
I think it’s safe to say that I will never look at mushrooms the same way again after reading What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher. Fungal horror has always been a favourite sub-genre of mine. It’s weird and creepy and somewhat believable, given how often people interact with and eat mushrooms. And what happens in this story is absolutely bone-chilling.
What Moves the Dead is a re-telling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” which I actually haven’t read (you don’t need to in order to understand or appreciate this story). It follows Alex Easton, a retired soldier, who travels to see their old childhood friend, Madeline, after receiving a letter saying that she’s gravely ill and dying.
Alex finds a decaying home surrounded by strange animals, weird mushrooms, and an unlikely group of characters trying to figure out what exactly is going on. The setting is incredibly macabre, mysterious, and unsettling. I was totally encapsulated, and equal parts mortified and intrigued.
The writing in this story is incredibly detailed, and I was able to perfectly picture the scene: an old, cold, musty house full of mold and mildew, an exterior covered in overgrown plants, and slow-moving hares that made you feel like you were always being watched.
For me, this was perfection. The atmosphere was palpable and truly transported me into the book, where I was able to witness firsthand the madness that was slowly but surely unraveling in the Usher’s house.
If you’re looking to add a dark, eerie book to your Fall TBR, make it this one. I loved the way this book made my skin crawl and can’t wait for more people to pick it up.
Thank you so much Tor Nightfire for sending me a digital copy via NetGalley. I gave this book five ✨🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄✨.
What Moves The Dead by T. Kingfisher came out on July 12, 2022 and can be purchased wherever books are sold.