Top positive review
40 people found this helpful
Suspend all belief and jump right into this surreal, horror fantasy
on 2 May 2013
If you enjoy completely surreal, off the wall, contemporary horror then NOS4R2 should keep you hooked. The plot opens up into a nightmare landscape where nothing is as it seems. A land where a little girl slips through real time on her Raleigh bicycle and a demon dressed in human skin cruises around in a classic Rolls-Royce. Along the way you'll visit Christmasland, where children are taken after they've been 'rescued', and be introduced to other sinister 'inscapes' including a cemetery, library, Sleigh House and a derelict, bat infested bridge.
The criminally insane, deluded, dead and inexplicable haunt the pages alongside the children living in Christmasland and they're really not 'nice' kids. Joe Hill has created a great lead character in 'The Brat'. Absolutely loved the complexity of her nature as she grows from little girl on a Raleigh cycle into a strong woman with her path drawing ever closer to the shadow of that diabolical Rolls-Royce.
Running centrally to all the madness is an excellently worked vampire theme. If you look at the title of the novel 'NOS4R2' you'll perhaps be able to work out the name of one of our most classical and disturbing vampires (if you can't, don't worry, it quickly becomes obvious). NOS4R2 has featured in many a novel and movie and was always the boogeyman who scared me the most. I'm not going any deeper because I want you to read the book and discover him for yourself. However; watch out for the 'Gas Mask Man' with his gingerbread smoke....you never know where he's hiding and waiting.
Joe Hill has taken classical/contemporary horror and mixed it with themes of adventure and mystery. He's created something bizarre, darkly comical and surreal. Fascinating to sit back and experience this wacky, wonderful, complicated novel open up. You're spun from one chapter to the next without knowing how you got there and there's usually something nasty waiting for you just out of sight. Be prepared for some of the hard hitting themes to reach out and batter you. This is a dark fairytale and certainly not for those of a more 'sensitive' disposition.
I only have one word of caution. NOS4R2 is a 'horror story' relying on psychological tension, eerie landscapes, demonic characters and the totally insane to give you a chill, make you feel uncomfortable, without any obvious shock factor. That's the point. If you're expecting a traditional slasher/shocker you'll possibly be disappointed. Plenty of gore, murder and violence that's often gratuitous but; this is a novel much more concerned with the slow unfolding of a story than one created just to make you jump out of your seat.
I enjoyed 'Horns', not so much 'Heart Shaped Box', but with NOS4R2 Joe Hill has shown real talent. I read the first quarter in one sitting. Didn't even look at the clock. Addictive.