Pre-read reaction: It’s .99 cents and I figure this won’t kill me for the experience of reading it and taking one for the team. I hope. *gulps*
Give me a couple of hours with this one, I’ll come back with an honest review about it. I promise to be thorough and let you guys know how it goes.
Post-read reaction: Dude, I can’t believe I survived reading this. What was I thinking? I don’t even know. I guess in the interest of science/curiosity/proving that critical opinions matter, this was a complete bust because I would rather scrub my brain than have to remember the experiences I had reading this book in order to write this review. It was not worth 3+ hours of reading time and $1.08 paid on Amazon. I could return the book, but what would be the point?
More to come in the full reflection. 😦
All right, I’ll bite. Before I jump into this full review, I’ll say this is the first read I’ve had from Simon Okill. I’m not so sure I want to pick up another work by him after reading “Murder Most Deadly,” to be brutally blunt about it. For me, it was pretty much that bad of an experience. I can’t say that other people will have the same experience with this one though. I understood this was something of a tongue in cheek supernatural farce, with over the top characters and random as all heck scheme of events. But even with it being that, I think this book really didn’t have a plot to shape from, nor did it have characters that i could remember other than being pains in the neck. I also didn’t like the overfocus on graphic depictions of sex and gore – it was overmuch and overemphasized.
My first sign that this narrative would have problems was in the overly long blurb. Blurbs are not meant to spoil the story or explain it – that’s the job of the story to tell (well, show) these things. For a while, I didn’t know what the heck was going on, judging from the story text itself. The characters were difficult to follow and I couldn’t make head for tails of their personalities. For a while, the only character I really knew was Bianca, and she’s one of those characters that you’d love to hate – completely hate.
I guess the very barest thread of a story is that Bianca’s a famous person who’s written a book and comes from a high profile life, but she’s a murderess and a “crazy” person. She murders her lover Maldini, a magician who then becomes a lecherous ghost. She has henchmen (Joey and Topsy) burying the bodies for her (and they’re kinda dim-witted, especially Topsy – I almost thought of them as a haphazard Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but they’re not developed enough or tongue in cheek for that). Hugh is the well-meaning cousin of Bianca who discovers his cousin’s dark secret after Bianca kills Tara, Hugh’s fiance. But then Hugh falls for a witch named Megan who seems to have it out for Bianca.
From there, I don’t think it makes a bit of sense. It’s on the level of absurdist humor on a supernatural level, but I don’t think the execution worked for it because it felt repetitious and gratuitous with too many things being thrown at the wall and very little to no development. It’s really a shame because I do like off-beat humor styles from the U.K. (my love for “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” being an example. Gregg the Grim Reaper will always be one of my favorite characters, despite him hating cats.), but I just don’t think this worked at all, even for adult humor and for what it chose to show. It wasn’t carried well enough for the delivery to hit home.
On a final note: I know this might be the first star review that this book has and a very critical one, but I’m writing a review for it and owning it as my open, honest opinion. Other people may feel differently about it, but I would say it’s contributing to the dialogue surrounding the book, and it’s worth expounding upon. People should have the right to say their piece about a work without being made to feel afraid or undermined for their opinions. I stand by this opinion, and I assert it with confidence. I respect the right of others to have their respective thoughts and sentiments regarding the work and see no reason why some feel the need to try to censor it if it isn’t entirely conforming or complimentary.
So I’ll say that this didn’t work at all for me personally. I can’t recommend it for its many problems and it leaves much to be desired on a number of levels for the work. The read, in comparison to other parodies or humor in its vein, was very lacking, and I know it could’ve been better than this.
Overall score: 0.5 stars