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The House that Spoke by Zuni Chopra – A magical house in Kashmir

25th February, 2017

The House that Spoke by Zuni Chopra

A magical house, a talking armchair, talking books and what not. And a girl who might be the one who fights the darkness eating Kashmir.

In Brief

Zoon stays in a magical house in Kashmir with her mother. The various objects in the house can converse with her. Her mother wants to sell the house and move away. And little does Zoon know that the house once held a dark force that escaped and she is the only one who can fight it.

The first few pages got me hooked to the book. The book starts in an earlier time period and moves onto the present day. The house is reminiscent of the one in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The various objects in the house can talk and understand human speech. That’s right – a talking armchair, talking books and so on. Here are some highlights about the book :

-The pacing is fast and it is a quick read

-There are some lovely sentence constructions. Some of them do seem a bit wordy in terms of the describing words. But they truly capture the essence or beauty of what the author is trying to convey.

-I loved the fact that Zoon loves to eat! We need YA books like that. All teenagers love to it.

-There is an Indianness to the book. Kasmiri kehva, the natural beauty of the place, local food etc. Kashmir is a perfect setting for a magical house.

-The illustrated pages are a nice touch and really make the book look pretty.

The House that Spoke by Zuni Chopra

Even though the premise of the book was very interesting, I found the plot to be weak in general. Here are some aspects of the book that I had problems with :

-There is no explanation why the various objects in the house would not reveal to Zoon that she is the only one who can hear them. They are friends. So why make her think that her mother can also hear them for fifteen years? Zoon talks about an incident where she tells a grown up about the household objects and is rebuked. Why did not the objects tell her the truth then itself?

-Altaf, the boy character, seemed unnecessary. There was not much development in the friendship between him and Zoon.

-There is little or no suspense in the book. It is pretty obvious who the villain is from the beginning of the novel.

– I wish there was more on the relationship between Zoon and her mom.

Final Verdict :

Overall I liked the beginning of the book but my interest waned towards afterwards. However, I am very impressed that this novel was written by a fifteen year old. I wish I could have given the book more brownie points because this is a huge achievement for a teenager. Zuni has a lot of potential, especially in her writing style. I would recommend the book to children looking for a fantasy read and pre-teens. I think they might not notice the problems I faced during the read.

Title : The House that Spoke
Author : Zuni Chopra
Publisher : Penguin Randomhouse India
Published : 2017
Language : English

Rating : 2.5/5

The House that Spoke

Much thanks to Flipkart and Penguin Randomhouse India for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

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Did you read the book? Do you love the fact that Kashmir is the setting of the story?

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This Post Has 26 Comments
  1. The drawings! And I can’t believe it, a 15 year old? I can’t imagine getting something like that to be published, that IS quite the achievement. Nevermind any plot holes, the fan fiction I wrote at 15 had more problems than that.
    And the talking furniture did remind me of Beauty and the Beast, haha!

  2. Wow it sure is super beautiful!! *o*
    Aww too bad about the cons 🙁 but I’d still love to read that one, especially since it is such a short book!
    (15yo?? wowowow! That’s awesome!)

  3. This book was written by a 15 year old?!?! Wow! I’m impressed if a 15-year-old’s writing caught your attention this much. It’s a shame that it wasn’t more well developed, though. I hope that Zuni Chopra doesn’t have regret at publishing so young later on in life… Perhaps she can be like Neil Gaiman and publish “the authors preferred text” and get a revamp.

  4. I must admit, I love lyrical middle grade and there’s something so lovely about this one that it’s calling to me. Does the Indian culture extend past the character names and explore that aspect a little too? Middle grade magical realism seems to be a massive hit or miss for me too Resh, but I can’t wait to give this read. Brilliant review, really enjoyed it <3

  5. First of all, very shallow comment but I love that book cover ahah. Second of all…a 15-year old?! Wow, that’s so young to publish a book. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the writing style overall, and YES to a character who loves eating, we all do, don’t we, ahha. Lovely review 🙂

  6. I’m in the middle of reviewing a book right now that is similar – an interesting premise, beautiful writing, but a plot that doesn’t really go anywhere. It is quite impressive that in this case, the author is so young. I hope you’re right and that she develops into an incredible author as time goes by.

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