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The High House

(Evenmere Chronicles #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  488 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Evenmere, the High House, a Victorian mansion of infinite size, is the mechanism that runs the universe; the lamps must be lit or the stars fail; the clocks must be wound lest Time cease; the Balance between Order and Chaos must be preserved or Existence crumbles. When Carter Anderson finds himself Steward of Evenmere, he must learn, before it is too late, the strange ...more
Kindle Edition, 339 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Ransom Books (first published December 1998)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Dan Schwent
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm about halfway though this one at the moment. How can you not like a book where one of the characters is a talking dinosaur that lives in the attic? High House has some pleasing similarities to the Castle series by John DeChancie but surpasses it in inventiveness.
Mary Catelli
A tale of magic and wonders. Set in a mysterious house that has a black river in the basement and kingdoms in its rooms, and a dragon in the attic that is also the last of the dinosaurs and the Behemoth and a serious danger to our hero, Carter.

He was the only son of Lord Anderson's first marriage. His mother dies, and he learns a few things about the house, like the Book of Forgotten Things and the Words of Power, and he sees his father, who is Master, setting out with the Tawny Mantle and the
Lonnie Smith
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Such a good book. I would place this book in my top 5 books of all time. I wish Stoddard would put more out.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this book, and although I didn't love it, that says (of course) more about my own tastes than it does about the book.

What I loved:
1. The writing. The writing is beautiful. This is a leisurely, atmospheric, eerie book, and the writing is full of brilliant little phrases and metaphors and images. If you love words, you will find plenty to entrance you in this book.
2. The imagination. This book does what good speculative fiction ought to do; namely, it keeps you shaking your head and
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The High House by James Stoddard was an excellent book which came along at an inopportune time. It is chock full of incredible imagery that will stay with the reader. Points also for originality: the underlying concept here is distinctive and though I imagine another author could duplicate it I think it would be the palest of imitations. It is a beautiful fascinating idea I wish I could tell you more about but as my custom is to write reviews without spoilers I will have to demur. This is a ...more
Chad Warner
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Recommended to Chad by: Isaac
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
The most engaging fantasy book I've read in a long time (other than rereading my favorites). The adventures take place a magical mansion that's miles across and wondrously contains several connected countries. I love the house's ancientry and mystery. The book has excellent character development and emotional engagement. The detailed and often visceral descriptions draw you in.

I like how the countries are a strange hybrid of house interior (halls, rooms, etc.) and outdoors (fields, towns,
Simon Mcleish
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in January 2000.

Were it not for the prior existence of Peake's Gormenghast trilogy and Crowley's Little, Big, High House would certainly seem far more original than it actually does. Like these novels, its focal point is a huge house which has a strange magical atmosphere. (The Gormenghast novels are far more dark than either of these others.) Like Gormenghast, the High House is full of strange people and places; in High House, these are often allusive.

Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
E.J. Weaver
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a bizarre but wonderful book. The well-read fantasy reader will recognize homages to many favorite books throughout the story.

The story seems like something that George MacDonald might write, though not quite. Recommended VERY highly.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miquela by: Maymay
What a fantastic imagination has Mr. Stoddard! I am looking forward to reading The False House now.
Charles J
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The High House” is a startlingly original book. It is, in some ways, young adult fantasy. In other ways, it is fully adult allegory. Naturally, such double effect, whether of allegory or some other adult theme, is the hallmark of all great fiction putatively directed at the young, from the “Chronicles of Narnia” to “Alice In Wonderland.” (This is why I think that in a few decades, nobody will remember Harry Potter—sure, it’s original, in many ways, but it is what it is. There is nothing to ...more
Hannah Belyea
Years after being sent away from Evenmere, a grandiose building made up of thousands of halls and worlds, Carter Anderson returns seeking his father, the lost Master of the house, only to find an evil group known as the Anarchists trying to bring all life in their path to destruction, forcing him to begin a journey to stop their nefarious ways and become the next Master before reality can be destroyed. Stoddard delivers a beautifully descriptive and fantastical tale of heroism built upon ...more
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy
Beyond it being an excellent descendant of William Morris or George MacDonald, and it possessing a lovely cadence to the writing that demands a read-aloud to an appreciative audience, AND it being set in the most marvelous sprawling TARDIS-interior-like architectural construction that encompasses entire nations and worlds while still having exterior windows conveniently located, this is a book whose deliberately-planned and -deployed literary Easter Egg references are seemingly designed to drive ...more
Andrew Miller
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Book one of the award-winning Evenmere series, The High House tells the tale of how Carter Anderson became the Master of the High House, from his time as a small child living within its halls, under the watchful Master’s eye of his father, Ashton, to being exiled for his own safety, to his return and subsequent appointment as Steward. Through many remarkable adventures, Carter discovers something about the nature of the House; it is not merely an abode for humans, but rather seems to contain the ...more
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked up this book after reading an interesting review in First Things about the Christian themes in Stoddard's fantasy novels. The setting of the novel, an infinitely large Victorian-era house with corridors and rooms containing entire nations, captivated my imagination. However, the prose was clumsy in places and marred by a handful of obvious typos, making me wonder if the book was self-published. It is certainly a fun read as long as you're not expecting C.S. Lewis or Tolkien-level ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Teenage me would have loved The High House, first in the Evenmere Chronicles series. Middle-aged me has seen enough of the classic heroic fantasy genre.

Evenmere is a Victorian mansion of apparently infinite size, containing entire nations within it, somehow linked to the entire universe. Wind the clocks, light the lamps, keep Order and Chaos in check within the house, or else the entire universe suffers the consequences. The son of the Master of the House, Carter Anderson, has lived away from
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars would be a fair assessment, but I am going to be hard and round it to 2.
I really wanted to like this book. But sometimes it just does not work.
The premises were all there: an old school but original tale, not as gritty as much of the contemporary high fantasy, paying tribute to the writers I love (Tolkien, Poul Anderson, Clark Ashton Smith, Joy Chant...)
But...but. The story felt a bit thin at times. The characters were often cardboard pieces. I guess that nowadays novels are too much
Benny Hinrichs
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I'd probably give this almost 3.5 stars. It felt like a book for children written for adults. Is that what the author was going for? Fantastic, but it didn't quite resonate with me. The best thing I can say about it is that it was a very cosy read and it had good descriptions.

I've always liked what I call collapsoid fiction. Where impossibly large expanses occupy seemingly small spaces. Keys to the Kingdom, Narnia, The Gray House, Library at Mount Char, Seventh Tower, Septimus Heap (in some
Jason Carter
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Carter Anderson's father, Ashton, is Lord of Evenmere. His mother is dead, though he as (an evil?) a stepmother, Murmur, and a half-brother, Duskin.

What is Evenmere? "The High House is shooting stars and children's tears, rainbows and the small tiny cracks between the bricks where the young grass grows; cold graves and gooseflesh, clear water when drowning, gray dust when dying of thirst, ancient engineers in railroad yards, mad ladies mumbling in the street. Is that clear? No? It will have to
Stephen Case
This book is a survivor, one of those volumes that has come through multiple bookshelf purges over the years. It was purchased in an age of Brooks and Jordan and Star Wars novels, but it was solid enough that it remains when most of my pulp paperback science fiction and fantasy are gone. I was reminded of it recently by the graphic novel Joe the Barbarian, so I fished it off the shelf and decided to return to Evenmere, the epigrammatic house of the title, for the first time since childhood.

Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book multiple times, the false house twice and Evenmere once.
The entire story is invigorating from start to finish. I think these books are inspired by genres such as morality, the bible and lord of the rings.
The book clearly depicts to parties which would easily attract animosity or praise. The concept is so unique and fascinating. Its captivating, despite its fiction it reflects reality.
These are books that are worth reading.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fun-fiction
I was turned off by the writing style at first, but once I got used to the rather old-fashioned feel, I really enjoyed this story. Quick and exciting read, but with depth as well. (3 stars because I think the writing itself is a little lacking, though re-reading LoTR at the same time probably doesn't help it, either. ;))
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mark Smith, David Harmon
Recommended to Haley by: Cole Jeffrey
Shelves: to-read-in-2017
Mentioning Narnia and quoting George MacDonald on the opening page suggested I was in good company reading this book. By the end of the first chapter, I knew I'd love it... and be tempted to swallow the story quite whole, instead of slowly savoring it.

Creative in its world-building, I'm intrigued to explore more of the series.
Jason Bray
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was quite good, from an adults perspective. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect a teen would actually enjoy it less, since the themes contained are less appealing to the young.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
the book is one of the best books I ever read
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love when the dinosaur in the attic paraphrased Job.
David Greaves
there is some pretty cool worldbuilding early on but my god this book is Tory as hell
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read for about the 5th time 2018.

This book has remained one of my fantasy favourites since I first read it about 2004.
David Holl
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity in the story. The characterization was intriguing and the story development was well paced. I look forward to reading the rest in this series.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it except for the describing of the house and all the side worlds. The characters and story itself were really good and I am on to book two. :)
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Goodreads Librari...: editions 6 18 Oct 09, 2015 12:04PM  
What's the Name o...: Fantasy novel about a house/manor that is more than it appears [s] 4 52 Jun 18, 2013 02:33PM  

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James Stoddard grew up in the Oklahoma Panhandle. His short stories have been published in professional SF publications such as Lightspeed and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. His first published novel, The High House, won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and was nominated for several other awards. When he isn't writing or composing music, he teaches Sound Engineering to ...more

Other books in the series

Evenmere Chronicles (3 books)
  • The False House (Evenmere #2)
  • Evenmere (Evenmere #3)