The House on Durrow Street

The House on Durrow Street

By Galen Beckett

Ballantine Books


3 stars

The House on Durrow Street is the sequel to The Magicians & Mrs. Quent.  My review of The Magicians & Mrs. Quent is here if you’re interested in some thoughts on the first book.

After saving Altania from evil, Ivy Quent is living happily with her two sisters and her new husband in her father’s old house.  In the midst of restoring the house to its former glory, many odd things are found, but knowing her father was a magician, none of these things faze the rather unflappable Ivy.  Soon, Ivy and Mr. Quent are swept into the high circles of Altania society, Ivy especially attending party after party.  Nothing seems amiss in her world until she begins to experience a strange calling from the trees and finds out that the magic her father used to safeguard the house may not be as strong as she once thought.

Two things about these books: 1.) I like the world.  It’s sort of an alternative Edwardian England with magic and it’s very appealing.  And 2.) Ivy is a very likable character.  Two more things about these books: 1.) Ivy somehow got a bit dense after she got married; and 2.) I still felt as if I was reading different books only tangentially tied together by a few characters that crossed paths every once in a while.  I had this same complaint about the first book and that was not alleviated with the second.  There are characters and sub-plots in this book that go nowhere and seem to have no ties to the ending.  I do like these other characters and story lines and I especially liked the different look at the lives of those in Altania but having characters meet up in a bar doesn’t make the stories mesh.  And, it moves slow.  Very slow.  In The Magicians & Mrs. Quent, I felt like the pace moved faster but in The House on Durrow Street I kept waiting for something to happen and it doesn’t until 550 pages in to the 602 page book.

I’m a sucker for a series (probably something I don’t have to state if you’ve been reading my reviews) but I’m not sure about this one.  I so wanted to love it because I really like the world built by Beckett but I don’t feel as if the story is going anywhere.  For me, the world can’t be everything and I think that’s the way I feel about this one.  I still need things to happen and they don’t seem to be.  Then again, maybe it’s me so feel free to ignore at will.

A third book in the series is planned — The Master of Heathcrest Hall.  While I wasn’t so enthralled with the first two, something still nags at me and tells me I’ll be reading the third wondering what’s going to happen with Altania even if I’m not sure that I’m totally invested anymore.  Odd?  No.  Call me a book addict is all.


10 thoughts on “The House on Durrow Street

  1. I am usually a sucker for a series, but for whatever reason, this series didn’t do it for me. I almost didn’t finish the first one, and I can’t be bothered with the second one. 😦

  2. The subplot with the illusionists seems especially disconnected from the magicians and the witches, but Beckett has left me with a growing sense that the 3 kinds of magic are somehow going to come together into a single package bound up with that wierd planet that they seem destined to collide with. I hope Beckett can pull it off when he rips the curtain aside to show us what’s really happening. On the other hand I enjoy reading every page and wouldn’t mind him spinning it on for a few more books.

    • I agree. I love the illusionists too and wish that subplot fit with the others better. I hope Beckett does find a way to tie it all together because there are some good parts to these books.

  3. I love this series! I found them to be a very quick read.
    How can you say that illusionists are not connected? Illusionists are the sons of witches… and most likely will be used to hunt them down in a possible witch-hunt scenario that was thwarted for now. Like Garritt was able to see Ivy’s green glow… It’s interesting that Rose can as well and it makes me wonder what will be revealed about her.
    And the story is going to a HP Lovecraftian apocalypse — but I’m holding out for a happy ending.
    I never got a sense that there were characters that had loose-ends, they appear to be beautifully tied. I’m a huge Austen buff, so that might give me an advantage.
    I can’t wait for the third one…

    • I’m an Austen fan too which was the reason why I picked the books up but I just wasn’t as impressed as I hoped to be. Sometimes it happens. I thought he did a great job with the world building though which was why I read the second book.

  4. Pingback: Review – The Master of Heathcrest Hall « Just Book Reading

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