When Beth wakes up one morning covered in dirt, she puts it down to an extreme case of sleep-walking. But when reports of a desecrated grave, strange sightings, and sudden disappearances start to circulate, her nighttime wanderings take on a sinister air. Beth knows that something is changing within her. Something with an urgent, desperate hunger that demands to be satisfied - at any cost...
©2013 Melvin Burgess Ltd (P)2013 W F Howes Ltd
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
The author, Burgess, is known for cutting edge YA fare, like, "Junk." So, I was surprised by this novel, which straddles the Young Adult and adult horror genres. The protagonists are all in their early 20's and have very "youthful" voices and actions.
The first part of the novel was quite suspenseful, as we see the primary character, Beth, come to grips with her strange urges and appetites.
The plot meanders a bit, especially as it becomes bogged down in the mythology of the "disease" infecting Beth.
I think younger readers will find this suspenseful, even scary, and perhaps I would have, too, had I not recently read Ray Garton's "Ravenous," which has a much higher body count.
Overall, this was a fun read and the narrator did a good job with voice characterizations.
"The best opening but story sadly doesn't deliver"
Style is childish and plot is lacking. The plot does develop but in a very rambling way that gets tedious after a while.
What a fantastic opening! But unfortunately I became disappointed with the way that the story went on. I only finished it because I'd paid money for it. There's more than a touch of Twilight about it, with some monster top-trumps thrown in (does this one drink blood? Eat flesh? Can he be killed at all or does he also have to be buried with a brick in his mouth? Are we allowed to have sex if you're about to 'turn'?) I did like the character Alghol and the mythology around him, at least to start with. It went too far, less would have been more.
While I was listening I guessed that this was an inexperienced young writer, writing for other teenagers. It turns out that Melvin Burgess isn't young himself but he does write for younger people. I'd have said that the book was written for an audience younger than teens if the characters hadn't constantly had sex on their minds.
There are thrilling moments but sometimes the battles get a little bit silly. (spending 20 minutes trying various woodworking tools to get through to the vampire's heart... really?)
Do teenagers want to hear a story told in the way that they speak? (I don't think so - when I was a teenager myself this is why I couldn't finish Catcher in the Rye. And unlike CITR, this chatty style isn't the voice of any particular one of the characters.)
The narrator was perfect for the style. If the author's intention was a 'chatty teenager' style then the reader may have nailed it (I can't be sure, I don't spend time with teenagers). I mean that as a compliment to her, she did a great job. It was the author's style that made listening grate after a while.
The vampire ex-librarian might have been unnecessary. If Alghol needed a sidekick after Beth learned how to shut him out, he had Ivan by then. I thought the group of 4 teenagers worked well when they were a group. Maybe they could have managed without Ivan - they didn't seem to care for him very much - his death seemed to bother them very little, even Beth, his love interest and murderer ("Oh, well. It wasn't me, I was possessed at the time").
I wish it had been made clear that this is aimed at a younger audience. It's enjoyable at times but doesn't live up to the initial promise.
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