Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Haunting of Falcon House by Eugene Yelchin

The Haunting of Falcon House by Eugene Yelchin -- Young Prince Lev Lvov is finally going to take his place at the home of his ancestors. The last of a proud line, Lev dreams of noble stature and military glory. He's determined to emulate his grandfather, a true hero. However, life at Falcon House is not exactly what Lev expected: the house is dusty and most rooms are closed up, the servants are quirky, and the only other member of the family in the enormous house is his volatile aunt. Left for the night in his grandfather's study (believed by the servants to be haunted, but Lev is a true Lvov, not given to superstition!), Lev meets the only other child in the house, an odd boy named Vanyousha. In Vanyousha's company, Lev sets out to learn the secrets of Falcon House -- but what he discovers does not throw a positive light on his illustrious grandfather. Just who is Vanyousha? Why has Lev been brought to Falcon House? These are only a few of the questions that readers will uncover as they journey with Lev and Vanyousha through the dank and moldy halls of Falcon House.

Though at first it appears to be just a ghost story, this book has surprising depth as Lev learns the truth about his grandfather and decides what sort of man he is to be. Ah, Russians: even your ghost stories are more melancholy than scary! This book runs the gamut of emotions -- there are a few frightening moments, some sad ones, and a surprising amount of humor, too (I loved the scene where Lev and Vanyousha slid down the banister!) There are two twists at the ending, one of which I was expecting, and one of which surprised me. Recommended.

(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)

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