Monday, April 14, 2014

review: Scowler by Daniel Kraus

ScowlerScowler by Daniel Kraus
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is well done, driven and effective, but there were a couple of things that kept me from being wild about it.

I found some of the wording pretentious. I hate saying that because this writer knows words and has an ability to feed them to the reader in a way that truly horrifies, but when I pay more attention to the use of the language than to the feeling evoked, it's over the line for me. Especially so in a story where it has the effect of stopping the action. Your mileage may vary.

Somehow I never came to care for the characters on a personal level, though I felt bad for what happens/happened to them, and pity for Ry and his state of mind. It's a bit odd that I didn't, because the portrayal of Ry is so impressive. What was done to him hurts. (SPOILERS FOLLOW)
However, I didn't particularly buy into Ry sounding suddenly reasonable and somewhat mature at the end, not after the level of batshit crazy so impressively displayed. Might have been better if he'd come out of this with a manic-confidence - I'd have believed it, and still hoped for Ry's future.

There's a brilliant, vivid, surreal flashback scene complete with quotes from Mr. Furrington and Jesus Christ. I'd recommend reading this book for that chapter alone. It was that good.

Final note: this is, as other reviews have stated, horror. It's not sugar-coated for the YA audience and I don't think of it as YA, aside from almost all of it being from the POV of a nineteen year old.

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