The Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and HC Chester

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and HC ChesterCuriosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver
Also by this author: Vanishing Girls, Vanishing Girls, Replica, , Rooms
Series: The Curiosity House #1
Narrator: Greg Steinbruner
Length: 7 Hours 54 Minutes
Published by HarperCollins on September 29th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Family, Orphans & Foster Homes, Social Themes, Friendship
Pages: 384
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9780062270832

Edgar Award nominee for Best Juvenile Mystery
The book is about, among other things: the strongest boy in the world, a talking cockatoo, a faulty mind reader, a beautiful bearded lady and a nervous magician, an old museum, and a shrunken head.
Blessed with extraordinary abilities, orphans Philippa, Sam, and Thomas have grown up happily in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. But when a fourth child, Max, a knife-thrower, joins the group, it sets off an unforgettable chain of events.
When the museum’s Amazonian shrunken head is stolen, the four are determined to get it back. But their search leads them to a series of murders and an explosive secret about their pasts.
This sensational new series—a 2016 Edgar nominee for Best Juvenile book and New York Times bestseller—combines the unparalleled storytelling gifts of Lauren Oliver with the rich knowledge of the notorious relics collector H. C. Chester.
What you will find in this book:

A rather attractive bearded lady
Several scandalous murders
A deliciously disgusting Amazonian shrunken head
Four extraordinary children with equally extraordinary abilities
A quite loquacious talking bird

What you will NOT find in this book:

An accountant named Seymour
A never-ending line at the post office
Brussel sprouts (shudder)
A lecture on finishing all your homework on time
A sweet, gooey story for nice little girls and boys

Learn more about the series online at

Why Did I Listen To The Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and HC Chester?

The Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and HC Chester was kind of a no brainer when it came to my reading it. I would read pretty much anything that Lauren Oliver writes. However, this book wasn’t really a priority for me. At least, it was not a priority until I realized I had some Hoopla borrows to use up before they expired at the end of the month. As this book was one of the shortest on my audiobook list, I decided to just go for it and give it a listen.

What’s The Story Here?

The Shrunken Head is the first book in Lauren Oliver and HC Chester’s Curiosity House series. It follows four children – Phillipa, Sam, Thomas, and Max as a valuable artifact, a shrunken head is stolen from their home. You see, Phillipa, Sam and Thomas are orphans who were raised in Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders. The three each have an ability that would make them an attraction at a carnival – like being a mentalist for one and being super strong for another. Max then joins their ranks and it turns out he can throw knives. Anyways, they all uncover a series a murders and it gets pretty real, pretty quick.

How Did I Like This Book?

In all honesty, this series opener isn’t too bad. I mean, is it my favorite of the books I’ve read by Lauren Oliver? No. However, I do not have any complaints or anything about this book. The characters each do have interesting abilities. The plot has some satisfying twists. It just wasn’t entirely up my alley and that is fine. I think that for the actual intended audience, this book is sure to be a hit. As much as I love Lauren Oliver’s books though, this won’t be a priority for me to get through the other books in the series, at least not unless in the future my son decides he wants to read these books. Then I will get back into them.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook is narrated by Greg Steinbruner. I think he did a decent job. However, I did zone out from time to time, but that’s not hard to do when you’ve got a million things on your mind. In all, this is an okay listen. Definitely wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of quirky middle grade mysteries with intriguing characters.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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