This book embodies the phrase “wtf did I just read?!” This has to be one of the strangest books I’ve read, ever, not just this year.
By page 11 into the book I wasn’t sure I was going to continue because I wasn’t really in the mood for something dark, and there was a woman licking the tears of a crying mans head. He had been decapitated and momentarily reanimated as just a head, confused about what happened the he kept asking about whether his daughters were okay (they werent, they were “gutted”) and he was crying…. and heres this crazy bitch licking his tears and touching his face cooing at him happily.
I continued just because … I don’t know, I just felt compelled to keep going.
The story is about 12 kids who’ve survived a blast in a suburban neighborhood in Virginia, so I guess it technically counts as Urban Fantasy? But this is unlike any other Urban Fantasy I’ve ever read.
The kids are adopted by a guy named Father, who is a god like being in charge of an infinite library. The library is absolutely enormous, one of the characters comments you could fly a jet through it. But, a mysterious force has appeared thats keeping the now grown up kids from getting back to the library, and they have to figure out howw to get around it. Its a perimeter defense thing, and any time they try and approach the library, they start suffering horrific symptoms, like blisters, catching on fire, blood coming out of their eyes etc.
Each of the 12 kids has been assinged a specific area of study, known as their Catalogs. Some of the Catalogs are normal-ish like Languages, but others are bizarre like The Futures that Never Were.
The Father is not a kind entity, and he kills and ressurrects that children as punishments for not following orders. Axes to the head…. burning them alive… really fucked up shit.
As you can imagine, through that sort of trauma most of the kids start to break down mentally, and start abusing each other as well as being abused from the Father.
About halfway through the story starts getting a little more grounded in reality when a new character, Steve is introduced, and the kids, now grown up, are interacting with the real world – sort of.
I think my biggest problem with the book is that I couldn’t relate to any of these characters, and I found myself disgusted by most of them because of how twisted they’ve become. It’s not their fault of course, they didn’t start out that way it’s the result of decades of the worst abuse imaginable – but it’s really hard to feel sentimental for a guy who rapes a girl and nails her to a desk and kills her. Then taunts her after she’s ressurected.
I was impressed by the sheer amount of imagination that went into this book, I can honestly say that I did have a strong desire to keep reading even though I was grossed out and weirded out through most of the book. I liked Jennifer the most I think, and her Catalog was healing, and she was one of the few who stayed somewhat sane, so it was easier to relate and not be revolted by her.
The main character had nice growth at the end, and the overall fuckedupness of the book toned down a bit towards the end as well, so that made it easier to get through.
I’ve read through the reviews of this and it seems like some people really love this book, and other people really hated this book. I actually find myself admiring the book, but didn’t exactly enjoy my read for the most part. I recognize it’s really well written, but this was just too weird for me to actually get excited about the sequel (at least I think there’s going to be sequel given the ending of the book)
The synopsis/summary on the back of the book said it had black humor? And some of the reviews noted a “wicked humor”… I guess I just don’t click with that, I think one of the only times I smiled during the whole thing was the name of the cat, Punkin Tinkletoes.
I was really torn on what to give this book, but I settled on a 4.