Sunday 3 March 2013

Book Review: Eville by Holand Peterson

by Holand Peterson
4 Stars


First day on the job: The room is on fire, flooded with smoke. The boss is blowing holes in the wall with her elephant gun, miserably failing in an attempt to shoot down the tentacle-covered beast hungrily latched onto her new employee’s leg. Alex peers through the window, four stories above ground, contemplating if he could miraculously survive a jump down, seeing as how this demon is likely to devour him before his mad boss actually hits her mark. You know, this sort of crap never happened when he was working at the video store.

Welcome to EVILLE, the first book in a series of quirky, epic, sci-fi/fantasy adventures (think The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy crossed with The Addams Family).

Serene Necrosia is a brilliant scientist, on the brink of creating something that will change the lives of every living thing on the planet. The only problem is that she has been vaporizing, incinerating, and generally decimating her staff at an alarming rate- all in the name of progress, naturally. But now the Hunchback Union has had enough, and is refusing to supply the woman additional labor. What’s a mad scientist to do? Search for a desperate, poor sap who doesn’t know any better to fill in the vacancy.


You just can't seem to get the staff these days…

Alex Hobbs is one of the most uncontested residents of Contented Hills. He's lost his job, an accident with his neighbour's oven burned down Alex's apartment; he's living in his car until that too catches fire and all he has left is a cardboard box of his meagre possessions. He needs a job but doesn't hold out much hope when he goes to the labour exchange but is surprised when he is offered a job as a laboratory assistant to the reclusive Serena Necrosia on the outskirts of Eville. Alex has never heard of Eville and soon wishes he hasn't set foot in the place.

This book was hilarious, peopled with quirky characters such as Quasimoody the hunchback, I nearly choked I was laughing so much when I read her name. There are lots of little in-jokes about other sci-fi and horror themes which I'm sure will amuse any fan of the genres. You have the spooky mansion, the mad scientist (do they always have to be mad though? I'm married to one and he's nothing like Serena, LOL!) and the poor innocent, Alex, dragged into something he doesn't understand but he soon gets the gist.

He has to contend with being vaccinated by panacea snakes, avoid the wrath of blood gophers and come to terms with the fact that vampires, werewolves, goblins and ghoul are real. The author has a vivid imagination and enjoys lots of wordplay with the naming of the characters, such as Serena's nemesis, Snotwaddle.

It was a fun book, if you like things like The Addams Family or the Rocky Horror Picture show, I'm sure you'd enjoy this.

My one peeve with the book, was that instead of the more normal italics for emphasis on some words, the author has bolded them. That may be a stylistic choice, but it doesn't seem quite right when I read it.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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