Friday, September 20, 2013

Where there is no imagination there is no horror--Arthur Conan Doyle

I am not a big horror fan.  It's either way too nightmarish and scary or so gruesomely over the top that I'm bored.  But since I am in the mode of "expanding my literary horizons", I decided to read Andrew Smith's The Marbury Lens.  And I have to say that it didn't take long before I was absolutely freaked out--the book jacket says "Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time" but that doesn't begin to describe the terror of his kidnapping and torture at the hands of a sexual predator named Freddie (way creepier than Krueger).

If you are wondering what Marbury is and how a lens has anything to do with this story you are not alone.  In an avalanche of horrors which Smith doesn't really tie up, hence the sequel Passenger just published last year, you follow Jack to London where he is given a pair of old fashioned spectacles he can neither refuse, lose or break.   Putting them on takes him to the horrendous, postapocalyptic world of Marbury, populated by marauding packs of mutant creatures, once human, who have transformed into grotesque cannibals.  And his best friend Conner is the worst of them.  You are never completely sure what Jack is really experiencing.  Sometimes it seems as if the trauma of the kidnapping has messed with his head and at other times you are convinced that what happens in Marbury is more real than modern day London.  If a mash-up of a dark fantasy, a psychological horror, and the overused adjectives of "graphic and violent" sound like a good read, then check out this book or unabridged CD.  It is not an easy read to describe or forget.

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