Stoker by Jenny Brigalow
Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.
As part of the blog tour, I will present you with an excerpt from the book, as sometimes it is interesting to read a little bit to get the right feel for it!
In the candle’s flickering light, Oddie could see stone walls and a patch of dark floor.Stoker by Jenny Brigalow, Chapter 42 p146
Beyond that he could see an old door, its green-painted surface mottled with rust
The siren blasted. Oddie put his hands to his ears to block it out. He sat up and
smacked his head. He cursed emphatically. Then fell silent as a warm trickle of
blood rolled between his eyes. He reached up and encountered a cold, hard metal
beam. That wasn’t right. What the hell was going on?
On the verge of panic, Oddie wiggled awkwardly towards the open space on his left.
He pulled his torso to the edge and then shifted his left leg. For some reason his
right leg refused to follow. Fragments of his dream played in his mind and Oddie felt
a stab of fear. A fear fuelled by exhaustion. His eyes closed as he braced himself.
Really, more than anything, he wanted to go back to sleep. Instead, Oddie
scrunched himself up and reached down to grab a hold of his trouser leg. But his
fingers wiggled into empty space.
He lay still, too confused for thought or action. Then, straining even sinew, he inched
his hand down a little more. He crept his hand sideways and encountered the coarse
cloth of his trousers. His hand swept back to the right. Nothing. His breath came in
shallow pants. He groped around until his fingers encountered something alien. A
thick wad of cloth. He prodded the lump. Big mistake. Pain engulfed him. It wasn’t
agony. There was no word to describe it. It felt like someone was sawing his leg off.
Then the dream died and coalesced into reality. And Oddie screamed.
And now the mini-review (I admit that my favourite excerpt is probably one where there is a discussion of elements and balance, but that includes a bunch of spoilers so I can’t share that with you lot!).
I enjoyed Stoker, the chapters are relatively short, so it is easy to divide into smaller chunks if you do not have the energy for reading a lot (as I did while being ill, this helped because it was easy to do just one chapter at a time). There are a lot of Frankenstein vibes (but not a comparison or a retelling, more of the same type of gothic feel) with a bit of steampunk and gothic in it, and I have to admit it gives me a little of Charles Dickens vibes without being that wordy or dry, like a much lighter modern approach to that ambience.
The story focuses on two main characters that are from almost opposite sides of the action and at first, you wonder what is making them come together but the story is working on a lot of “science” and magic and this turns into an interesting kind of romance story with elements, magic, experiments and other parts of the adventure. It has a tiny bit of everything, even if it overall has a slightly sad vibe. It is the kind of book to read in fall while cosy with a cup of your favourite hot drink and under a blanket while it rains outside.
Overall an interesting little book that surprised me a lot!