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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The First House is a superb work of macabre fantasy and moody action and adventure, penned by author Robert Allwood. The first novel in The House Series, this initial adventure starts off with Sarah Seville, a witch’s daughter who loses her twin children in the chaos of curses and the violence of her life on the seas. Years later the twins are eager to reunite, but their coming together is sure to cause powerful friction wherever they choose to meet. It falls to London to host that reunion, where magic, death, violence, and fire all have their role to play.
It was an absolute delight to delve into this darkly adult fantasy novel, filled with historical themes and settings, superb allusions to the beliefs of the old ways, and real magical encounters that stay with you in their shadowy intensity. Author Robert Allwood has a real talent for atmosphere, painting gorgeous portraits with his words which bring his dark characters into being, and framing them with the beautifully jagged edges of British history and its darker tastes. There’s also a regal elegance to the work that gives it flair, gloriously offset with the blood and violence that frequently occurs amongst the pages, which keeps the plot feeling tense and unpredictable as it progresses towards inevitable doom. Overall, The First House marks a monumental opening to a dark new fantasy series and is a highly recommended read for fans of historical fiction, stylish horror and atmospheric, character-driven tales of power.