Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Corpse-Rat King

de Lee Battersby
Angry Robot; Original édition (28 août 2012)
416 pages - 8.99 $

Again, It's the cover that caught my eye... and the fact that it comes from Angry Robot, a publishing house that does not stop to pleasantly surprise. This is a real chance, in my opinion, to find a publishing house that suits you so that even without knowing an author, you expect to enjoy the book. I received this book via NetGalley, so thanks! NetGalley and Angry Robot. I get a lot of book for to review but the fellow blogger who comes here knows that I give my unbiased opinion, be it good or bad...

The Blurb

Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers and is transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead.

Just like the living citizens, the dead need a King - after all, the King is God's representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.

And so it comes to pass that Marius is banished to the surface with one message: if he wants to recover his life he must find the dead a King. Which he fully intends to do.

Just as soon as he stops running away.

What I think of it 

Honestly, I was a little hesitant to read it, because of the dead thing. Zombie stories are not really my cup of tea but the adventurous side that the book offered overcame my resistance. And so much the better! This book is really cool.

Marius is the anti-hero in all its splendor. He's wily, liar, thief but also cunning, clever and very funny. This book is the story of his personal journey, because if originally when he's caught red-handed, he tries to escape, the misadventures he lives make him aware of his responsibilities. From there, he will demonstrate that his qualities as much as his faults, are very useful to carry out his task. Gerd, young naive who had the misfortune to trust Marius initially eventually gains confidence in himself and becomes a man. It's after all an initiatory trip for both, one to take his responsibility, the other towards maturity. The two partners complement each other perfectly, despite their differences, and their exchanges in the book bring a freshness and a pleasant lightness.

The story begins badly... the two accomplices find themselves in the realm of the dead with a mission to bring a king for Marius and for Gerd to monitor Marius. Marius fled, only to realize that it's better to fulfill his mission if he wants to regain his life. All his journey to his awareness is fraught with challenges, adventures and especially misadventures. This is probably one of the most epic initiatory trip story I've read! I didn't get bored in this book: initially because I was glad to see Marius in trouble (well done, you big coward!), then because there are funny adventures and finally, because the pace is accelerating.

A word about a part of this book that I really appreciate in books, it's its humour: impertinent, pungent and grotesque found throughout the story. Whether in dialogue or in situations, there is always something to smile or laugh.

In a nutshell

This is not just a book of undead (or living dead for Marius) but a true adventure book, funny and epic. I give it 4/ 5.

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