Science fiction and fantasy
The World House
by Guy Adams
The Dr Xargle moment comes when we meet the Renegade. He's not a being of this world, but he poses as human, trying on the meat suit in order to experience human existence more fully. His aim is to study people, but he's as cruel as a child who fries ants with a magnifying glass, only he works on a much larger scale. The parts about the Renegade and his kind are funny and gross and shocking, but they have quite a different tone to the rest of the story.
As the book progresses the house begins to get crowded with a host of different characters. Some of them are as quirky as the house itself. The place continues to baffle them and frustrate their attempts to escape it. After a while it seems as if the readers, as well as the characters, are being led a merry dance. The characters move but go nowhere, but will the story arrive at a destination or simply circle round without ever having a point?
However, thanks to a few cunning twists near the end things start to make more sense later on, against my earlier expectations. This is the kind of book that relies quite heavily on leading into the next volume for its full resolution. That's not to say that The World House doesn't come to any conclusion, but it does leave you needing to read on to the next book.
I loved the characters in this novel. They can be as oddball as the weird rooms they find themselves in, and their period speech is beautifully observed. Whilst they're often funny they don't cross the line into caricature. This is an unconventional book that strays far into the realm of fantasy and leaves readers without a compass for a while, like the hapless sailors in the bathroom sea of the later chapters. So far though the story holds together soundly. This bodes well for the next instalment of the series, Restoration.
9th March 2011
If you like this, try:The New Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Anton Gorodetsky saves a boy prophet, only to find that his intervention could endanger all magical beings.The fifth volume in the Night Watch series.
Chasing The Moon by A. Lee Martinez
A woman tackles Lovecraftian horrors, odd neighbours and strange appetites when she moves into a suspiciously nice new flat.
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
In the future your colour vision determines your life chances. But Eddie Russet may have seen too clearly for his own good.