Clod Iremonger lives at Heap House with the rest of his family. Each person has an object they carry with them at all times called a birthing object. Clod has the ability to hear each of birthing objects names, which makes him the odd one of the family. When Aunt Rosamund looses her birthing object, Clod is called upon to find it. When he can't hear it his Uncle Timfy decrees that every room is to be searched for it. While the searching is going on Clod wanders the house and runs into his Cousin Moorcus. He starts picking on Clod and drags him to another one of his cousins. Moorcus tells him that his sitting is set for the next day. Clod can't believe it and imagines what marriage will be like to his Cousin Pinalippy. While Clod looks to the future, Lucy looks to the now as she adjusts to being a servant at Heap house. From a dinner song, to not leaving the house, to everyone one of the servants telling her their birth objects, it all seems strange for Lucy. She is told about Aunt Rosamund's missing door handle and is assigned to clean the fireplaces in the upper part of the house. The next day Clod goes and meets with Cousin Pinalippy. She is unimpressed with him and his birthing object. He too is unimpressed with her birthing object, a doily. Later that night in the Sitting Room he sees Lucy cleaning the fireplace. They make small talk and if Clod shows her the house, she will tell him about London. The next day Uncle Aliver tells him to listen around the house for Aunt Rosamund's door handle as she's not doing well. Later that night he meets Lucy in the Sun Room. Together they wipe the windows and he tells her about hearing the names of the birthing objects. Lucy is taken aback at his ability, and thinks something is wrong with him. The next day when Clod is talking with his Uncle Idwid, who can also hear the names of objects, he figures out where the missing door handle is. The following day the servants are in a tizzy because a moustache cup has apparently moved on its own and gone missing. All the servants are questioned and there are more objects missing. Later that night while Clod shows Lucy more of the house and she tells him about London. He confronts her about the missing door handle. She'll give it back as long as Clod helps her look for one of the other servants that has gone missing. Clod agrees to help her and they agree to meet the next night. Clod goes through the attic taking the long way around to the Infirmary, and encounters a collection of objects that looks like a man. He manages to escape and gets to the Infirmary, only to find his aunt has now turned into a bucket. Lucy is confronted by Mrs. Piggott, the head housekeeper, about her whereabouts. She lies and says she was cleaning, but Mrs. Piggott knows she wasn't cleaning. Lucy quits, but Mrs. Piggott has other plans for her. Lucy is sent out to the heaps to work. She is told she has to bring back some type of salvage or be forced to go back out into the heaps. Clod's Grandfather comes to visit and tells him about his Great-great-great Grandfather Septimus and how he squeezed money and property from people. Piles of objects rose and fell whether people succeeded or failed. Septimus's dying wish was to have all the dirt-mounds of the city brought to Heap house. Eventually all the unwanted objects ended up in heaps outside of the house. Then people started to disappear and the Heap family would be blamed. When the people disappeared objects would take their place. A disease was spreading and the only way to not be affected by it was to have a part of a close object injected into the person and have that person keep the object close. Thus the birthing objects are born. If an object is returned to its family that person would become an object themselves. If the object overtakes the human, the object turns human and vice versa. Armed with this new information can Clod protect himself, Lucy, and the rest of his family?
This quirky and strange story was an enjoyable read. It did take a little bit to get into the story, but once I got past the first 60 pages the story took off for me. By the end of the book I wanted the next book in the series to see how the story continues. The art of the book jacket along with the pictures at the beginning of the chapters reminded me of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Even the drawing of Clod on the cover reminded me of something out of and Edgar Allan Poe story. This is the first book of a trilogy. The second book is coming out this summer. I can't wait for it come out.