The Death House by Sarah Pinborough is a book about life and death, love and hate, friendship and hostility, and secrets and disclosures. Above all, this is the story about coming of age. And, most notably, all of this has been explored through the eyes of some children. These children have been kept in a house called ‘the death house’ to die as they are having some sort of defective genes. These defective genes lead to an illness and finally death. While the nature of these defective genes is not described in the book, the presence of such genetic defect is a good enough reason for people to separate children (having these genes) from the society. These children spent rest of their lives in the death house where they are monitored by nurses for the signs of sickness. These children are taken to the top floor (known as the sanatorium) of the death house in the middle of the night once the signs of sickness started to become visible. And, these children never return from this sanatorium. In a nutshell, this book is the story of those children who are angry at the world. They are angry at a fate that has ripped them away from their family members. This is the story of those children who are waiting for their death.
This book is unquestionably a wonderful read. It is beautifully emotional and terribly addictive. Some of you may also shed some tears and the story, in fact, is such that it may keep you up all night. It has both creepiness and suspense. The characters of this book engage you from the first page itself. While the physical traits of characters are not described, you still fall in love with these characters. You start to care for these featureless characters, you feel their joyous moments, you experience their struggle, and you get angry when something bad happens to any of these characters. You fear for them and you pray for them. The writing is brilliant and adroitly touches the sense of love, friendship, despair, uncertainty, and the aching pain of isolation. There are a number of moments in the story-line that makes this book a wonderful read. This is not just a book about some children waiting to face their unavoidable end. It is much more.
Then, why three stars? You may ask. Well! There is no doubt that this book is a wonderful read but I feel that this could have been an amazing read. There are a number of questions which are left unanswered in the book. A little more clarity about some of the incidences could have done wonders for this book. However, it just might be my opinions and others may disagree with me. Most probably, I am one of those persons who want answer of each and every question. The ending of the book also disappointed me as the climax of the story felt rushed.
Overall, as mentioned above, this is a book you can spend your time with. Will I recommend it? Without a doubt!
Note: I received a free copy of this book from Hachette India in exchange of an honest review.