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Len, Fitzharrys Shadows

The House with Chicken Legs

'The House with Chicken Legs,' by Sophie Anderson, is a story about a young girl, Marinka, a 13-year-old who feels overpowered by her Grandmother Baba and the house they live in, and who wants to choose her own destiny. Marinka and Baba live alone in the house with Jack the jackdaw who has human feelings, and with Benjamin the lamb. Baba wishes Marinka to guide the Dead when she comes of age. Marinka objects and wishes to have friends, and to live in a normal house that doesn’t relocate regularly. The house has magical properties, giving the Dead people, that Marinka guides, energy for their journey to the next world. Marinka discovers that she has a mysterious connection to her house; and when Baba gets lost in the next world, how will Marinka find her? Parts of the story imply that the book is set in Russia because of the traditional Russian foods such as Kvass (beer) and Ukha (fish soup). The setting is timeless, there are no references to electronics from the 21st century.

I really liked the unexpected plot twist when you find out about Marinka’s past and her family, I liked it because it was a surprise to discover how many lies were inserted into Marinka’s life by the people she thought she knew the most. When Marinka makes a new friend, she discovers the truth about herself. I enjoyed that the house with chicken legs has its own personality and even has its own emotions. The house is almost human but in a different form, and even communicates to some degree. This made the book a unique story, but also suggests a parallel to ‘The Overlook Hotel’ from Stephen King’s ‘The Shining,’ except that in the two stories the living buildings have very opposite personalities. One thing I didn’t like very much was how rebellious and how irrational Marinka was in some parts of the story. I found it frustrating to watch her make poor decisions because of stress she was going through.

Overall, I like this book because I enjoyed the Russian culture that was implemented throughout the story, and because of the timeless setting, with very few clues as to what period of history it was set in. This means the reader can enjoy this story no matter what the current year is. I particularly enjoyed the plot twist half way through. This story could appeal to a young child because of the fairy-tale nature of the story but would also be interesting to an older reader because of the ghost-story plot line. I would rate the ‘The House with Chicken Legs’ a nine out of ten.

Posted on: 22nd April 2019 at 07:28 pm

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