Review of ‘What Moves the Dead’

Kingfisher explores Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher in What Moves the Dead in strange, creepy, and humorous new ways.

Something so strange and comical, What Moves the Dead, delves deeper into Poe’s classic.

Strange and Unusual

what moves the dead

What Moves the Dead
T. Kingfisher
Tor Nightfire

What Moves the Dead is another short read by T. Kingfisher. It begins with a detailed and creepy description of a mushroom. Already the reader knows this will be a strange retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher.

I love Poe and Gothic Lit, and Kingfisher did an excellent job capturing those elements in the storytelling. The story follows Alex, a genderfluid main character & soldier, returning to visit their friends, the Ushers, at the behest of an urgent message.

There is something wrong at the Usher’s, a strangeness that also plagues the land, infecting the rabbits and polluting the water. And it is all connected to Madeline.

I loved the novel’s strangeness and the creepiness that came into play, especially regarding the rabbits. Some of those scenes were, well, disturbingly funny is the only way I can sum them up. I don’t want to give anything away here, but it was creepy.

And it was creepy in a good way that sucked the reader into the story. We readers want to know why Madeline walks in her sleep, why she looks like death, why the rabbits act strange, and what is in the water. Kingfisher raises questions that interest the reader.

Moreover, the atmosphere was perfect. Again, Kingfisher does an excellent job, as I said, of capturing that gothic atmosphere that makes the story so reminiscent of Poe’s classic. It is eerie and unsettling. But, again, the story is comical at times.

Kingfisher has such a talent for imbuing their work with humor in a way that fits the story. Laughing out loud, which I did, at certain times, didn’t feel inappropriate or out of place. Instead, you feel Kingfisher’s intent with the storytelling. Yes, the story is unsettling and creepy. Still, it is also humorous in a way I think only Kingfisher can make it amusing.

Final Thoughts

What Moves the Dead is a quick read that offers readers an entertaining and creepy look into Poe’s classic while capturing the gothic atmosphere almost perfectly.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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