A decade dead, Jacob Campbell is a preservationist, providing a kind of taxidermy to keep his clients looking lifelike for as long as the forces of entropy will allow. But in the Land of the Dead, where the currency is time itself and there is little for corpses to do but drink, thieve, and gamble eternity away, Jacob abandons his home and his fortune for an opportunity to meet the man who cheated the rules of life and death entirely.
According to legend, the Living Man is the only adventurer to ever cross into the underworld without dying first. It's rumored he met his end somewhere in the labyrinth of pubs beneath Dead City's streets, disappearing without a trace. Now Jacob's vow to find the Living Man and follow him back to the land of the living sends him on a perilous journey through an underworld where the only certainty is decay.
Accompanying him are the boy Remington, an innocent with mysterious powers over the bones of the dead, and the hanged man Leopold l'Eclair, a flamboyant rogue whose criminal ambitions spark the undesired attention of the shadowy ruler known as the Magnate.
An ambitious debut that mingles the fantastic with the philosophical, Dead Boys twists the well-worn epic quest into a compelling, one-of-a-kind work of weird fiction that transcends genre, recalling the novels of China Miéville and Neil Gaiman.
This is the story of Jacob, Remington and Leopold in their search for the Living Man, a legend in the world of the dead. This living man is believed to have passed the veil dividing the world of the living and the world of the dead, and Jacob believes that this man can help them to cross this veil in the opposite direction.
Jacob is a preservationist, a professional in fixing corpses to make them look like living people; Remington is a boy missing part of his skull, where a crow nests; and Leopold is a gambler with dubious intentions. Other characters with missing body parts will join the trio in their search.
A crossover between Neil Gaiman's novels and Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, this promised to be such a good story, but I soon found that the plot was buried in baroque language, corpses and debris. I found very difficult to follow the story and after a while I completely lost interest in it. It seemed the very long monologs and descriptions were more important to the author than the story itself. I think Squailia focuses more on the path than the real goal, more on the characters evolution than on how realistic they can be. Unfortunately this does not make them alive but just simple caricatures.
This book is narrated by Gabriel Squailia himself, and the long speeches become alive in the same theatrical tone as it was written, like taken a from a play. This made them not completely believable, and most of the time I did not understand their motivations. I think Squailia tries too hard when narrating, and he overdid it. He gives personality to the characters, but again, it is like we are watching a play, and instead of regular communication we listen to infinite speeches in front of an audience. I found it very tiresome and unnatural.
I loved the initial concept and I was ready to be amazed by this story, but I just couldn't get through the style and general pretentious tone of the book.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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