Well, there’s plenty of novels we haven’t talked about yet, but we only do one of these a week and April is drawing to a close. Next week we intend to look ahead a bit and focus on what’s coming out in May. Hopefully we’ll find plenty of interesting novels to talk about then.
For now, let’s talk about the three we picked out this time, shall we?
“The Blondes is a hilarious and whipsmart novel where an epidemic of a rabies-like disease is carried only by blonde women, all of whom must go to great lengths to conceal their blondness.
Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes–whether CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants–into rabid killers.
Emily Schultz’s beautifully realized novel is a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work. With echoes of Blindness and The Handmaid’s Tale amplified by a biting satiric wit, The Blondes is at once an examination of the complex relationships between women, and a merciless but giddily enjoyable portrait of what happens in a world where beauty is–literally–deadly.”
You know you want to read this. Hell, we’d almost say that this is something you need to read if you have any blonde friends or relatives. The premise is as dumb as it is utterly hilarious. We’re talking about rabid killer blondes here, ladies and gentlemen.
We are a little confused though. If the illness is carried by blonde women, why would they be hiding their blondness? Discrimination? Is it like a zombie virus that only affects blondes that have been attacked by other blondes? For that matter, is Hazel a blond and in danger of contracting the illness or is she simply in danger of getting killed by infected blondes.
Though apparently not without tense moments, the novel mostly seems to offer a few good laughs and that’s never a bad thing. The fact that it examines “…the complex relationships between women” might make it a bit more suited to female readers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that men can’t enjoy it. Who knows, we might learn something…From a book about killer blondes…Ok, so learning something is unlikely, but you never know.
Emily Schultz has had a novel published before, titled Joyland. It has gained some unfairly negative reviews from readers who confused it with the novel of the same name later released by Stephen King. As we haven’t read it we can’t say much for the quality of the novel, but Emily also writes for a number of magazines such as The Walrus, Black Warrior Review and the Fanzine, so check those out if you want to get a feel for her style.
When We Were Animals
“A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.
When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn’t have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen’s confessional: as a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community’s darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident “breaches” during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.
Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community’s traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town’s past, the more we realize that Lumen’s memories are harbouring secrets of their own.
A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.”
Puberty’s not easy on anyone, child or parent. Add to that a mysterious force causing children to run wild and you’ve got yourself a nice recipe for a headache.
This is an interesting premise. While it doesn’t outright mention werewolves, we’d be surprised if they aren’t at least referenced somewhere in the novel, considering the title and ‘breaching’ only happening during the full moon. It is only more interesting because of the fact that this is apparently and accepted and expected part of life in the community.
It raises the question of whether or not Lumen’s choice to resist ‘breaching’ will be looked upon all that favourably.
Joshua Gaylord is no stranger to fantasy, though other novels he’s written in the genre tend to have an apocalyptic note to the story. These were published under the alias Alden Bell and we’d question why he chose to do that, but we would be playing dumb.
Look, we’re sorry, but if you can look at the man’s name without at least some part of you giggling like an 8-year old, you’re the one with the problem.
Dave VS The Monsters
“Dave Hooper has a hangover from hell, a horrible ex-wife, and the fangs of the IRS deep in his side. The last thing he needs is an explosion at work. A real explosion. On his off-shore oil rig.
But this is no accident, and despite the news reports, Dave knows that terrorists aren’t to blame. He knows because he killed one of the things responsible.
When he wakes up in a hospital bed guarded by Navy SEALs, he realizes this is more than just a bad acid trip. Yeah, Dave’s had a few. This trip is way weirder.
Killing a seven-foot-tall, tattooed demon has transformed the overweight, balding safety manager into something else entirely. A foul-mouthed, beer-loving monster slayer, and humanity’s least worthy Champion.”
Allow us to sum up our first reaction to this as best we can. *Ahem* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Oh my god this is so amazingly stupid and we love it. Everything from the title to the summary and the cover art just screams total brainlessness. We can’t help but think that this is what you’d get if you gave Steven Seagal a pen and told him to write a book. Granted, the man would probably write himself in and go on about how awesome he is but that hardly matters because Dave Hooper is basically the embodiment of a Seagal role. The only things missing are corrupt cops, the mob, and a beautiful woman way too into an overweight weirdo with terrible hair.
Don’t get us wrong for even a single second, this book sounds ungodly awful. Of course, as with all of the books we’ve talked about so far, we could be totally wrong and it could turn out great. In this case, though, we sincerely doubt that.
The character of Dave Hooper feels almost like it was designed by a group of businessmen in their sixties, trying to come up with a cool character.
“What’s a manly job? Cop…Nah, we don’t want a boy scout. I know! Put him on an oil rig!”
“And let’s make him swear. Kids these days do that all the time, the foul mannered cretins, so it must be popular.”
“Oh, very clever James! On that note, let’s also make sure he does or has done drugs. Kids like the drugs, right?”
…Actually, come to think of it, this whole story kind of sounds like it was written by someone on drugs. Despite that though, we can’t help but love it. Hell, we’d almost be disappointed in it turns out not entirely stupid.
John Birmingham has had other novels published before, like his alternate history series the Axis of Time. We’re sad to say that, going by the summary, it seems only slightly more intelligent. However, don’t let that be the reason not to pick this novel up. There are plenty of other, perfectly good reasons for that, but this still seems like a fun little brainless read if you don’t want something to complex.
Kind of like The Vagrant, which we talked about a few weeks ago, only far, far worse.
So, what did you think? Do you plan to pick one of these up, or are you waiting for something that’ll come out in May? Let us know in the comments below!
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