I think more or less everyone knows what a mash-up novel is, you take an existing story and then add extra bits to it. I am lucky because I managed to get a proof copy of this some months ago, thus carrying on my sort of addiction to these types of tales. I have now read this a few times and there is one thing I should point out. When I first opened this I thought this is just an abridged version of Oliver Twist with gory bits added, but after a little while of reading you realise that doesn't do this justice, or is really that good a description, indeed this isn't like the usual mash-up tale.
We all know the basics of Dickens' famous story, even if you have never read it, because it has been filmed many times, there have been a few tv series, and of course it has become a well known musical. As you progress through this version you start to feel as if Oliver has been re-written, it has become darker than the original, which is dark in places, and a lot of the sentimentality has been dropped, meaning that this is a much leaner and more tightly constructed tale. The pieces of Oliver that we all know are still here, but appear in a much darker, in some cases almost gothic type horror tale.
Oliver Twisted is born in the Workhouse but prophecies say that he could be the saviour of Mankind, or its ultimate downfall. The 19th Century world that Oliver is born into is slightly different to ours, there are vampires and werewolves, as well as other creatures from the denizens of Hell. A portal is open between this world and Hell, and only Oliver can close it - but only if he wishes to do so. With the fight of good versus evil under way, which side will Oliver take? Although in Dickens' original you ultimately know how it will turn out, this book does have you wondering, and also there is scope here for a serial.
Although this is put out for the young adults market, the only people who have borrowed this from me so far have been adults, who have all loved it, so it should satisfy a lot of people. I think we all know people who aren't Dickens fans, but this is different and those people may find themselves enjoying this.