My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! I had sworn off any more Sarah Pinborough books, as the last one of hers I read, Murder, was so depressing but I was intrigued by the premise of The Death House, so I thought I’d give it a go and I’m really glad I did, as it’s very different from Murder and I thought Death House was absolutely brilliant. The Death House is set in an unspecified time in the future, there are a few clues throughout the story about how far in the future but it doesn’t really matter as The Death House itself it caught almost in a bubble of time that seems dated even now. Something has happened which means that children are tested for a defective gene and if they have it they are sent to the Death House, where they are cared for, as much as being fed and clothed is being cared for, until they get sick and then they disappear, never to be seen again, into the Sanatorium.
Told from the viewpoint of Toby, one of the older children, Toby is walking around with a constant pit of fear in his stomach, his only ‘freedom’ is at night, when he explores the house on his own and he doesn’t like it when a new girl arrives, Clara, and she disrupts that freedom. It’s a brilliant story about living in the moment and it’s also in parts incredibly sad. It reminded me of Never Let Me Go, which is another favourite story.