- Paperback: 104 pages
- Publisher: Eraserhead Press (October 23, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1621050688
- ISBN-13: 978-1621050681
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,171,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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House Hunter Paperback – October 23, 2012
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House Hunter follows Imogen, a brave, capable woman whose job is capturing young houses and training them to be decent, well-behaved homes. She likes her job, but a group called the Association threatens to put an end to it by hunting down the mythical Jabberhouse in order to breed houses in captivity. Trying to stop them sounds relatively simple, but there are dangerous people and lots of bad intentions surrounding the Association, and Imogen will have to use every ounce of her strength and intelligence to get the job done.
Cartledge understands that novellas must move forward at breakneck speed in order to work, and that's exactly what he does here. From the opening lines to the last page, House Hunter is a frenetic, action-packed read that's bizarro as much as it is an action/adventure sci-fi extravaganza waiting to be turned into a movie with a gorgeous actress as Imogen so Cartledge can become an international sensation.
Besides the pacing, House Hunter also boasts superb descriptive passages. Without bogging down the narrative, Cartledge delivers weird and unique descriptions of creatures, fights (human vs. human, human vs. creature, house vs. house, etc.), and places. In fact, the descriptions of the forests are worth the price of the book. Between spiders with acid breath the size of bears, huge eyes embedded on the ground, epic house battles, shootouts, and gigantic mushrooms the size of trees, Cartledge keeps the scary, weird, and fantastic coming throughout the narrative, and that makes this book the antithesis of boring.
If you're looking for a fast, interesting tale packed with action and great world-building, look no further than House Hunter. When you're done reading it, add Cartledge to the list of new authors who will be delivering bizarro goodness for years to come.
House Hunter is set in a society where buildings are semi-sentient and capable of much more than simply providing shelter and places for birds to crash into. Using a cerebrum, which is a sacred object imbued with special properties that allow a user to control the structure, houses can engage in combat, protect their users, and transform into a variety of animals, flying machines, weapons and creatures from our mythic lore. House hunters are those who wrangle the most ornery of houses and train them to be peaceful and helpful, something like wildlife conservationists with an added mixer of daring adventurer and the occasional splash of cock-fighting aficionado.
Cartledge introduces us to Imogen, a house hunter who quickly ends up going from a normal life (as normal as house hunting gets, anyway) to being on the run from a syndicate of influential people interested in consolidating their power using the might of the fabled Jabberhouse. Her only ally, a mysterious figure named Ellis who hides a past that leads to some great twists later in the book. From there, Cartledge spins a tale of adventure that takes the characters through ancient jungles, dark labyrinths and mysterious monasteries to try and stop the Association. This is a fun book, the story riddled with battles between bizarre monsters and exciting transfigurations. It's obvious Cartledge is a fan of cartoon violence and giant monster flicks, as the series of battles in House Hunter hearkens back to battle scenes from the classic Godzilla films, with the addition of smaller figures (such as his human characters) swinging around and shooting lightning cannons, setting traps, and generally adding to the chaos.
The plot is lightning fast and lots of fun. Cartledge wisely sticks mostly to one through-line and though he occasionally riffs on things with slight detours, every chapter serves the central arc and drives toward the conclusion. It's difficult to diverge from the main story in a book this short and keep things moving in the right direction, so we're treated to a very tight and direct plot, which works well. The prose itself belies the author's youth, and reads far better than a typical first novel. It's obvious Cartledge has a love of language and storytelling, and that voice comes through in House Hunter. There is also a distinctive noir feel to the style of the book, with the gritty feel of urban environments utilized as characterization instead of setting, which is interesting.
I wish that there had been more room for House Hunter to really explore the world that we get glimpses of in the book. There are all sorts of amazing creatures and concepts on the periphery as we read through the book, everything from minotaurs and sprites to the weird insectile facial features and mutations of the citizenry. In that vein, House Hunter walks a line between the world of the familiar in a sort of magical-realism way and all out full-on bizarro. Because of the book being novella length, it always feels like there's more just outside the reader's line of sight. Perhaps we'll see more of this world in future books, as there seems to be a great deal more to see. Intriguing, fascinating and strange, House Hunter is definitely worth picking up, especially for adventure fans and people who want the grime of noir jammed into their weird action stories. I'm also a huge fan of epilogues that cast the story they follow in a new light, or recontextualize pieces and parts of the narrative - something the author uses here to great effect. A great debut from Cartledge, who is sure to rise in the bizarro scene like a flaming house about to cold-cock a skyscraper.
Our Heroine's name is Imogen. Basically, she is the Ash of this universe. Ash, as in Poke'mon...sort of. Sonica, her Pikachu...sort of. The Association is after her and she is urged and guided by an escaped prisoner and former member of The Association to find the legendary Jabberhouse before the Association.
There are Lewis Carroll references if you look closely. Some are very obvious.
You notice any?
Well if not, you pretty much suck.
S.T. Cartledge is well-read and serious about the Bizarro genre...a little too serious, and here I bring you the--drumroll please--
The Negative: Not a lot of flesh, serious things happen with little reaction--a hand gets blown off, a dear friend dies, and we move to another house-fight scene. By Cartledge taking Bizarro too seriously is the obvious effort put into this story to say, "Yeah, this is Bizarro, what of it?" and off the top of my head I can list some titles this story could be compared to--House of Houses(obviously) Wall of Kiss, to name two. Don't try so hard next time, maybe. Don't be so uniform.
All in all House Hunter was fun.
I had a good time.
Most recent customer reviews
Imogen is a House Hunter. Those suckers have legs and just take off.Read more
Our house! In the middle of our... gladiatorial arena?? Poopbricks! Poopconcrete and Poopplaster while you're at it, because these houses are wild.Read more