the Little Red Reviewer

The World House, by Guy Adams

Posted on: June 15, 2011

The World House, by Guy Adams

Published in 2011

Where I got it: The library

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On the one side, is the Box.  If you come into contact with the box in a specific situation, you wake up in the house.  

On the other side is the Renegade. The house is his prison, and he’s been planning his escape for a very, very long time.


Almost in the style of a  long prologue, we are quickly introduced to a diverse handful of characters who come into contact with the box, usually in violent circumstances.  Some of them are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, whereas others have been searching for the mysterious, mythical box for years.

As people wake up in different parts of the house, they learn very quickly to adapt or die. For this is a house that isn’t a house. It may have hallways and bedrooms and a library and a kitchen and a library, but the hallways go on forever, the countless bedrooms have never been slept in, the library contains the memories of the universe and the kitchen houses one of the cannibals.  And when the lights go down,  it’s time to find a safe place to hide.  Because this house is alive, and it is hungry.

Before I get any further, it needs to be said, Guy Adams has an astonishingly incredible imagination.  Through his accessible prose and fun dialog, I felt like I was the one being chased by cannibals, or trying to climb a mountain like staircase, or exploring a never ending library while looking for the book with my name on the spine, and it was my blood that chilled when a character noticed the lights were turning down in the house.  If you enjoy thrillers,  The World House is the book for you.

With a large ensemble cast and only a few hundred pages, Adams picks and chooses the characters he develops.  Don’t be bothered if you don’t know everything about everyone, this isn’t a character based story (well, it is, but not in the way you might think), and Adams is pulling a bit of a Moffat, giving little hints here and there that prove unbelievably important later.

Feeling a little bit like a old school PC adventure game, an episode of Lost or Doctor Who, or the cult scifi movie “Cube” (which is a killer spoiler, now that I think about it),  The World House is a roller coaster of a book you owe it to yourself to read.   I could not put this book down and I didn’t want it to end.  There is so much more I want to tell you, but really, that would be spoiling all the fun.

If I had to voice one complaint, it would have to be the end. The big reveal  was a jaw dropping holy-shit moment that had me scurrying to reread the first 50 pages to catch everything thing I’d missed before, and I wanted more of all of that.  Coming too close to the final pages, the climax felt rushed, and I would have liked for the details to have been more fleshed out.  My saving grace in that department is that the sequel, World House Restoration, is right around the corner.  Good thing, as otherwise I’d have to start writing angry letters to the publisher demanding more books from this Adams fellow.
Speaking of Guy Adams, although I haven’t had the best of luck in the past with media tie-ins, I think I may have to get my hands on his Torchwood novel.

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7 Responses to "The World House, by Guy Adams"

This one has been on the TBR for awhile. It just moved to the top:) Great review!

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It is great to hear that this is such a good read. I am not sure if I had just picked the book up myself that I ever would have bothered reading any further than the synopsis. Mainly because, in my own opinion, books like this have to have a great execution to avoid coming off like just a set of wild ideas thrown together, if that makes any sense. I’m glad to hear that Adams pulls it off so well. Unfortunately my library doesn’t have it, so it looks like I may be off to the bookstore! Your enthusiasm for the book has me very, very intrigued.

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I came so close to buying it the other day on the strength of his interview on The Angry Robot podcast.

Now I’m kicking myself for going with another choice.

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Kristin – and it’s a fast read too, you’ll have to let me know what you think!

Carl – don’t get me wrong, this is a bunch of wild ideas thrown together, but the way it’s all pulled together at the end, for it me just worked. I had a tough choice as to what to read next – Orphan’s Tales by Valente, or the sequel, House Restoration. You can always request that your library purchase a copy. I do requests all the time, and they seem to by about half of what I ask for.

Frank – and I’m kicking myself for missing the podcast. Do you have a link to that? He has got to be a completely crazy guy in an interview!

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This sounds like a fasinating read. Thanks for sharing.! I’ll have to check it out.

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[...] why I read it: really enjoyed the first book in the series, The World House [...]

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I totally agree with your excellent review. This book is so vivid and exciting and I read it in a few sittings. It was a relief to come to it after reading (or should that be trudging…) through Oscar and Lucinda. Thanks for the review, it persuaded me to pick it up.

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