|First off, I don't like horror and I don't really like fantasy; this is
fantasy-horror-adventure. However, the problem I have with this book is that it
can be described in one word: sad.
The book starts off with inter-alien cross-sex, about which the participants
feel slightly guilty, and from that point onwards there is not a single passage
of joy or happiness. The author takes every opportunity to paint a dark, damp,
gangrenous city populated only with freakish downtrodden or corrupt lifeforms.
The adventure starts when an alien turns up after having his wings brutally
severed by his own kind, and contracts an extraordinarily clever
pseudo-scientist to give him back the power of flight. He starts by getting,
through devious means, a collection of flying animals for study, and one of them
it turns out was stolen from a secret government laboratory as a small grub. It
grows very big, turns into a nasty moth which sucks peoples' brains out,
escapes, and sets more of its kind loose. Then the whole book revolves around
efforts to kill the things.
In the end, they succeed, but there is no hint of triumphalism, and every
single character walks away from the adventure in a worse state than they
started. Much worse. For instance, the bird-man that wanted wings ends up
ripping the feathers out of his own skin, and goes off walking into the night
with aspirations of being a human, beaky and bleeding from every pore.
So I don't like the story, but the writing is something else. It is
effortlessly fluid, full of description and vividly conveys an atmosphere. The
adventure is full of invention, and there is never a dull moment. Testament to
this is the fact that the book is over 860 pages long, but does not read like a
Putting a rating on this book is hard. I can't say I didn't enjoy it,
because it immerses you in the atmosphere of a world far escaped from our own
and carries you along on an ever-intriguing story. Just a pity it couldn't have
made a little effort to give me some joy from the experience.