Grace A. Johnson
Review: The House That Didn't End by E. K. Seaver
Y’all are probably tired of me talking about this novella, since we’ve been through an author interview, cover reveal, and probably three other posts about it...but out of all of the jabber going around about The House That Didn’t End, I have yet to review it. Until today!
I actually had the pleasure of unofficially beta-reading it (back when it was a serial on E. K. Seaver’s website), and later edited it not long before it was published. I finally got around to reading the final version, so now it’s time to share just what I think about this unique fantasy novella!
Let’s start with the technicalities (as per usual)... Novellas are typically one of literature’s worst innovations. I’ve read enough poor, underdeveloped, and uninteresting ones to know. That said, Seaver manages to avoid falling for any of the classic blunders (did you catch the reference?) by giving us a story that is fast-paced but not rushed, developed, and engaging! Best of all, she leaves room for a sequel!
Seaver’s prose is almost classical, which I hadn’t expected, because her other work I’ve read doesn’t have the same flavor. Despite that, it worked very well for this novella, as did the slightly omniscient style. I think the balance of description was off a bit, as a few elements seemed very vague at times...and yet, she didn’t err to the more skimpy, tell-it-like-is-it side. With a bit more focus on certain aspects, she would have a perfect balance, I should think!
Although the loose ends we’re left with are neatly arranged to make way for a sequel (at least I hope so!), I feel like the beginning was too far ahead, if that makes sense. The story begins some time after Ly and Jackson have found the house, leaving out the whole event of them finding it to begin with. And if this were any other house, it wouldn’t be a problem. But that’s the thing. It isn’t just any other house, so I think including a scene with Ly and Jackson meeting and finding the house would have made the story a wee bit stronger.
As for the characters… From the start, Ly has clear motives, a lot of snark, and an arsenal of J words (I cannot express how much I enjoyed her nicknames for Jackson). She had a strong personality, even if it wasn’t the easiest to define (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and she was fairly well-developed for a novella character.
Jackson was a little bit harder to grasp. His presence at the house...either it wasn’t mentioned or I’ve already forgotten. His motives seemed a bit more vague, as well as his personality. That said, he has such great potential, and I really did like his character. He’s one I want to see more of!
As for our villainess, Hecate, her character probably possessed the most strength, clarity, and development of all. I won’t go so far as to say that these lovely character traits actually made her character itself lovely...but from a technical perspective, she was jam-up, jelly-tight, as my dad would say!
Now, from a less technical, more personal and ranty perspective… Y’all know that, as much as I love fantasy, fae and magic and whatnot are not my forte (I make an exception for Lewis and Tolkien). Honestly, fairies and dragons and what have you, I’m more lenient on, simply because...well, I just am. Do I have to have a reason? *raises eyebrow* It’s magic that bothers me, as the Bible makes it clear that any kind of magic - doesn’t matter if you think it’s real or not, or if it’s portrayed as “good” or “bad” - is witchcraft and of the devil. Now, other reviewers have gone into more detail regarding the magical elements of The House That Didn’t End, so I won’t bog you down with the particulars. Nor will I dis Seaver for her views, nor will I complain about the content, because I knew all about it before I read this book. I will just simply state that, yes, it’s a bit disconcerting and, yes, I view such things as thoroughly evil. If it bothers you as well, then The House That Didn’t End is not for you.
Don’t write Seaver off your to-read list, however, because I know for a fact that she has many non-magical, Christian projects in the works, which I am very excited about!
Otherwise, the content is clean. The only cussing is in candy. (I’m sorry, but that was just too good.) But y’all know I refuse to do content reviews, so now the only remaining question is: what did the self-appointed Princess of Romance (I will not steal Julie Lessman’s title of queen) think of the romantic elements?
I’ll put it like this: if you don’t like romance, you could still read and enjoy The House That Didn’t End. Sure, you could call it a stereotypical case of insta-love that was way too rushed...but, c’mon, Jackson’s a fairy dude, for crying in the rain. “Fae fall in love fast,” as he says. So, in sticking with the Disney fairy-tale vibes, I think the romantic subplot was well-done, even if the story was not what I would classify a predominant romance.
All in all, there were definitely some red flags that I don’t approve of, but I did enjoy the story regardless, and I certainly think any fantasy lover or fairy-tale fan will enjoy The House That Didn’t End too!
And, seriously, can we all just take a moment and cry over how stinkin’ beautiful that cover is? *sobs*
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About the Author
To find an E. K. Seaver, you must set a trap. The best option is to lure her in using chocolate, blankets, and a typewriter, but if none of those are on hand, spare books and Broadway music can be easily substituted.
She prefers to be wild and free, though. Whether it includes adventuring through the Rocky Mountains or curled up at a local bookshop, she uses her freedom to produce art. From books to scarves to paintings, Ms. Seaver strives to honor her King in every aspect of her creative works. She desires her stories to hold meaning beyond the tale and attempts to follow in the footsteps of storytellers who came before her.
You can find her and her wild adventures at ekseaver.wordpress.com or on Instagram @ekseaver.author
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