Science fiction and fantasy                                            


by Guy Adams


The World House is a bit bonkers. In its sequel Guy Adams lets his bizarre imagination loose once more on innocent and defenceless readers. But this time we're ready for him, we've brought extra towels and remembered to hand our sanity to the doorman for safekeeping.

The story starts with Hughie Bones, a jumpy man who lives by a Florida swamp and keeps a gun to protect him from alligators. But his weapon is no match for the stranger who turns up to take over his life. The entity that has escaped the House that held it prisoner is now in the real world, and it's keen to experiment with people in sadistic and unusual ways.

Meanwhile the people who were trapped by the House are determined to recapture the stranger and put right what has gone wrong. If the stranger is allowed to return to its own reality it could rip our reality apart in the process, destroying the world. But the creature is too powerful for anyone to stand in its way.

The housemates have another difficult task as well. With the help of a train that can take them anywhere in time, some of them have to travel to the past to keep history on course. It's a distasteful job when they know they'll trap some people in the House and send others to their deaths, but the alternative is much worse. Ashe travels around delivering the mysterious box, and as a result he ends up embroiled in a murder mystery in Tibet. Fixing history turns out to be much harder than he thought it would be.

There are quite a few new characters, and most of them have very colourful personalities. There's Loomis, the real estate vendor who thinks a lot more of himself than anyone else who ever meets him does, with "a grin so wide you might think he was trying to eat his own moustache off." This is typical of Adams' vivid and quirky turn of phrase, which is one of the things that makes Restoration a joy to read. Drunk, flawed and obnoxious people turn up a lot, and they're described with flair and gusto. Like The World House, this is a novel full of blood and atrocities, creatively imagined and told in loving, graphic detail. It's horrific fun if you're not too squeamish.

The oddness keeps on coming. Magic doors open up in the real world, taunting people to walk through. Ashe converses with talking birds. People crawl through a giant plughole, pigeons can be deadly, a vast canyon in the attic echoes with eerie howling, and much more. Mid-way through the book the craziness seems overwhelming, but it's not clear where the plot will lead or what the story stands for. The time travel aspect complicates things further. However, although we think we know what will happen because Ashe is trying to maintain the past, there's always the possibility that he will fail. We see the events from a very different point of view than in the first book so it's still very suspenseful, and it gets more gripping towards the end. How can this disparate group of people defeat the stranger, who seems to have godlike powers and no feelings of pity at all for mankind? The characters struggle to change their fate, but there's a sense that even outside the House and with the benefit of a magical train, everyone in the story is trapped in one way or another. The ending draws the many strands neatly together, making sense of the chaos in an impressive feat of story weaving. The result is mind-boggling and deliciously grotesque.

7th June 2011

Book Details

Year: 2011

Categories: Books


  Not For The Squeamish  

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Review © Ros Jackson