What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
I am a HUGE T. Kingfisher fan, usually for how she manages to interweave common decency and a sense of comfort into all the stories of war-weary and traumatized folks like in the alternate world fantasy Paladin/Hanged Mother novels or fairytale retellings like Bryony and Roses
This is a retelling of Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher starring a war-weary Gallacian sworn soldier with pronouns khan and ka, a non-nonsense British amateur mycologist, and a pair of very pale, very weird siblings in the House of Usher in a small hamlet in a small European kingdom.
Alex Easton is called to a friend’s house by the news of imminent death of a friend’s sister. Ka discovers a really, really nasty dank pond, a crumbling mansion, and strange hares that don’t run away when you approach but stare at you with unblinking eyes.
And there’s mushrooms.
It’s kind of fun to read this as I am also eagerly watching each episode of Last of Us on HBO, and the afterward mentions Mexican Gothic by Moreno-Garcia which I almost wish I hadn’t read yet so I could read it close to this one. It’s definitely fun to see the different “flavors” of fungi in all three creative works, and the intersection of human horror and fungi.
But this is Kingfisher, so whilst its definitely gothic and atmospheric heavy, once the horror is truly revealed, our heroes step up to handle it.
This is very short, more like a novelette than a full novel, but then the original source material was also short:)