The House that Spoke by Zuni Chopra – A magical house in Kashmir
25th February, 2017
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.
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.
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
Much thanks to Flipkart and Penguin Randomhouse India for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.
Did you read the book? Do you love the fact that Kashmir is the setting of the story?