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The Honours

(The Honours #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  655 ratings  ·  131 reviews

1935. Norfolk.

War is looming in Great Britain and the sprawling country estate of Alderberen Hall is shadowed by suspicion and paranoia. Thirteen-year-old Delphine Venner is determined to uncover the secrets of the Hall's elite society, which has taken in her gullible mother and unstable father.

As she explores the house and discovers the sec
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published April 2nd 2015 by Canongate Books
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book comes along which, although you do not particularly enjoy that genre, you do love the story. Although I am not a lover of fantasy as a genre, I was totally entranced by this novel and found it quite unlike anything I have read before. Our heroine is a thirteen year old girl called Delphine Venner. Sent away from school, after a series of events which are gradually uncovered at the novel progresses, Delphine is a rather forlorn and misunderstood figure. It is 1935 and war is loom ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a very difficult book for me to review. For starters, I loved the main character Delphine. She was extremely well-built, and her personality flowed out of the pages as if she was real. Some people have compared Delphine to His Dark Materials' Lyra, and indeed, there is a very strong resemblance in their wilfulness, resourcefulness, and outright incredible imagination. She was a joy to read. Likewise, the writing of the book was captivating. Tim Clare wrote this novel beautifully, e ...more
Alexis Carpenter
Too much. Too weird. Too confusing. Too slow. Took me about 75% of the way into the book to even start to understand what was going on. After that, the action was too much and took too long to come to a conclusion. I found myself simply reading quickly to finish the book; probably skimmed the last 20% of the novel. Don't suggest it.
This book surprised me a lot. It was so much faster-paced than I was expecting, and it definitely had many themes and ideas which I didn't anticipate. I honestly thought it was a historical fiction-style novel, but in actuality, it is more of a historical fiction fantasy blend. This book is also so incredibly fast paced. I read nearly the entire thing in 2hours which is pretty crazy, but the chapters are short and the character we follow is imaginative and fun so it's a very light easy read.

Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Honours is set in 1935  in a sanatorium out on the remote coast of Norfolk. The place has a small staff and, I think, not very many patients .  The grand house the sanatorium occupies is the family home of Lord Stokeham,  last in the line of what was once a great aristocratic family. There is a distinct atmosphere of paranoia, secrecy and - I can't think of a better word - weirdness about the place. When our heroine Delphine arrives with her mother and psychologically troubled father - a vet ...more
John Ferrigno
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a big fan of Tim Clare's podcast, Death of 1000 Cuts, I needed to read his novel, The Honours, and I was not disappointed.

This is a fantasy novel unlike any I have ever read. Literary without being stuffy, fantastical yet tethered to reality, The Honours introduced a world I did not want to leave. Delphine, although living in 1935, is a heroine worthy of our attention in modern times. She is strong and smart, yet struggles with not fitting in to her expected gender role at the time. She is a
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wcn, own
Completely captivating and truly awesome. I was lucky to win a proof copy of this book, and lapped it up in a couple of days, staying up till 4am to finish it as I couldn't wait till the next day. A brilliant main character, Delphine (who I wish had been at 13) and amazing attention to detail throughout the book. It's the first of three books, and although it will probably be a couple of years till the next, I can't wait for it.

Similar in fantasy style to the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials bo
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, the hype is all totally justified, EXCEPTIONALLY well written, just beautiful in fact. Well paced, excitement is always round the corner, great characters - Delphine is especially brilliant. A triumph!

Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poet Tim Clare’s debut novel, The Honours is everything I want in fiction: there’s a good build up, a layered plot, some surreal bits, memorable characters and , most importantly, it is playful. I forgot to add that this is a fantasy novel so it’s slightly out of my comfort zone – also a good thing.

The setting is 1935 and Delphine Venner and her mother have moved into a sort of sanatorium/mansion in order to wait for the arrival of her father, who is suffering from PTSD.

Delphine accidentally dis
Benjamin Appleby-Dean
The Honours is an imaginative, ingenious fantasy set in the 1930s, with a fierce heroine raised on a diet of Boys Own adventures. The historical setting is well-grounded and convincing, and the mystery teased out very effectively, but the book suffers from being a lot of buildup and only a modest amount of conclusion.

It's still worth reading, and I expect the second book to answer the questions left by the first.
Barron Van Deusen
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeepers, what a story.

The Honours is the tale of gun-and-war obsessed Delphine Venner, a girl sent to live on a manor where all sorts of strangeness seems to be afoot. Secret passages. Conspiratorial meetings. Bolsheviks? Maybe not that last one, but the residents of Alderberen Hall are all part of a secret society - Delphine's father, a veteran of the Great War, is as well - and Delphine immediately begins to dig into the odd happenings.

Delphine as a character is a powerhouse. She's bullheaded
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's 1935. War is looming, and Alderberen Hall is shrouded in suspicion and paranoia. Delphine Venner, the determined thirteen-year-old, isn't quite so taken by this elite society as her mother and father, instead using her time to unravel the secrets she's certain exist. The story she stumbles on is darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

There's a vast and odd mix of characters, but one thing is certain: Delphine seems to be a nuisance to all of them. Questioning too much, getti
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished this book! It took me so damn long, but I'm glad I did, because in the end I really enjoyed it.

I understand the people who gave this book less than stellar reviews, and now, having finished it, the ones who praised it. This is a weird novel. If you're familiar with Clare's podcast or his other work, I imagine you wouldn't be surprised by that statement. The Honours is good. In some spots, in more than good. In others, not so much. When I think about this book, I think that Cl
Finn Longman
So that was weird, no idea what to say about this one. Picked it up in a charity shop a while ago and read it now because I'm trying to work my way through all the physical books I own but haven't read before I go back to uni and no longer have access to my shelves. Anyway. Don't know how to review this, so won't.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a difficult and frustrating read. It just never seemed to deliver a cohesive story. When it started to gather pace (3/4 of the way through), the story seemed to become totally fantastical.
Caroline Mann
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Everyone who says that this book reads like two books in one, the first a historical fiction about interwar England, the second a monster book, is correct, but the split between them was not terribly jarring. Delphine is a joy to read about, though I wished that we learned more about the fantasy world around hers. This might be in the sequel, The Ice House, so I'll check that out next.
May Watson
I wanted to like The Honours so, so badly. I truly did. It's a first novel so I will be a bit more friendly than I would be otherwise.

I like a lot of aspects of the story. A plucky teenage heroine who's good with guns, stylish 1930s setting, a good mystery. The last third of the book flew by and I found myself staying up til 4am because I just HAD to finish it.

The first two thirds though... The pacing is very off. It took me two weeks to get through the first three hundred pages because I just
Kate Bystrova
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of fantasy
This is easily one of the best fantasy books I have read in recent years.

When thirteen-year-old Delphine and her parents relocate to Alderberen Hall to join a strange and elite society for the ‘perpetual improvement of man’, she is immediately suspicious. Within minutes of entering the estate, Delphine overhears a conversation that has her convinced the society is a front for some nefarious plot to facilitate an invasion (by communists? Germans?!) into England. But, before long, the true intent
Hannah Green
Firstly, I would encourage you to go into this book knowing as little as possible. Trust me when I say that the feeling of blindness will heighten your enjoyment of this strange novel greatly.

Nathan Filer's The Shock of the Fall was a completely unique novel that still stays with me to this day. Therefore, in my mind, an endorsement by Filer goes a long, long way. Indeed, that was one of the reasons I picked up The Honours and I'm so glad I listened to him.

In the tradition of old-school horror,
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a real shame. There is talented writing on show, some intriguing and likable characters, and hints of an interesting and unique world. Unfortunately, the end result is a schizophrenic mess that results in a massive waste of time.

The first 75% of the book meanders through meaningless, sluggish subplots that have nothing whatsoever to do with the final quarter, when the book suddenly and without warning morphs into a rushed and fantastical fantasy novel. This would have been fine, an
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know there is an audience for this book, but that audience isn't me. Without spoiling anything, it should be stated explicitly that this is not a mystery novel but a dark fantasy novel, and a brutally violent one at that. I believe the author intended to blend in mystery elements and mix genre, but the mystery elements — the secret passageways, the estate secrets — are pathways to something else.

In my opinion, the pacing of the second half of the novel is exhausting and could've been ~100 page
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A plucky heroine helps to save the day in 1935 Norfolk.

Wonderfully British and very evocative of the 30's when the country was still recovering from the aftermath of WW1 and the upease and paranoia as WW2 looms.

The book opens with a bang, and sent a shiver up my spine as I settled in for the adventure.

The writing was beautiful and lyrical with some gorgeous descriptions. This did mean, however, that the first half of the story did move slowly, and that the action at the end of the novel felt
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, ya
I liked so much about this. The prose, the details, the setting and the clash of genres. Sentence by sentence it was excellent.

Overall, not so much. What I didn't like was the pacing, with so much description between sudden and erratic jolts of the plot. And while it might just be me being thick, I was confused quite a lot of the time as to who was who, when was when, whether the cult front was really a cult or not, why certain characters did certain things to each other (not to get spoilery ab
This was a great first novel, and the characters were quite interesting and well presented. This being said, I felt like the first part was a little "slow-paced", while the last third or quarter of the book was much too fast and I had some difficulties at times understanding or following everything which was happening. I was also somewhat surprised when the "magical" creatures appeared within the story as I was under the impression it was more of a historical fiction type book. But overall, I wo ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The language is gorgeous and evocative; It's the most beautiful thing I've read in a long time. However, the plot felt hazy and I found the subtle, dreamy text made it challenging for me to pick up on important plot details.
Ali George
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Honours takes a little while to get going, but it's worth sticking with it. There are elements of mystery and fantasy, the writing is beautiful and the central character Delphine is one of the most interesting 13 year old girls I've read in ages.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazingly written, great take on fantasy. It's like Neil Gaiman and Gemma Doyle had a love-child and that child had a seriously twisted dark-side but somehow manages to keep it playful. Tim Clare, please please write lots more books, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on all of them
Christi Poulsom
May 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Got to page 169 and cannot see why I would continue. Getting bored of isolated stories. If I have a break I may come back.
No, didn't bother. File under LTS
Renita D'Silva
Scary and chilling.
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