Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Immortal Lycanthropes

Immortal Lycanthropes
By Hal Johnson, illustrated by Teagan White
Expected publication September 4, 2012 by Clarion Books

Myron Horowitz is ugly - and he knows it. Disfigured in a horrific accident, Myron has seen the cruelty people will inflict just because one looks different than they should. But Myron's world is about to get a whole lot more complicated - he's about to discover that he's an immortal lycanthrope, and possibly the chosen one...

This was one of the titles that publishers were offering to attendees at the School Library Journal SummerTeen virtual conference. I snagged a copy because it just sounded so different - a little weird and funny, something I could definitely get into. Now that I've finished the book, I'm not entirely sure what to say about it. This book is weird and funny - I just don't know if it's a good thing. The unique narrative hooked me almost immediately. Myron's story is being told to readers by Arthur Hong (well, that's the name he's using this time around anyway). However, Hong was not always present for the action, so some of what readers hear is coming from interviews with witnesses and inferences that Hong has made. Hong is a great narrator - he's witty and snarky and pretentious. It just works. Unfortunately, the narrative is not enough to carry the book as a whole. I find Myron, the hero, to be kind of frustrating and annoying. I didn't connect with any of the characters really. Additionally, there is so much crammed into this book that it often felt like a confusing mess rather than a cohesive story. A lot of secret societies get name-dropped here and I still don't really understand to what end. The mystery surrounding Myron is intriguing - he has no knowledge of lycanthropy and doesn't even know what animal he is. Wanting to find out the answer to that question is what propelled me to finish the book. However, the answer literally doesn't come until the last five pages, making it feel a bit hasty and tacked on. All in all, I felt like this book was trying a bit too hard and ends up being a bit too much.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy provided via NetGalley.

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