Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review: Blood Crazy by Simon Clark

Blood Crazy by Simon Clark

Leisure books 397 pages

This 2001 British horror novel has been on my radar for a number of years. I believe I first read about it on a good reads list of Apocalypse novels. It is my third Simon Clark novel and my favorite so far. Blood Crazy could easily be pitched to Hollywood as a simple twist of The Crazies and Lord of the Flies. It is the story of Nick Aten a young adult who we meet at the start of a long journey. In the beginning we don’t know much about him except there is another young boy named Tug Slatter. A lot of Nick’s energy and anguish comes from his fear and anger of Tug.

The action starts quickly, Nick is alone trying to survive a sudden upheaval in his little English town. The adults have gone crazy, it seems any over the age of about eighteen is affected. They’re driven by an uncontrollable urge to kill and eat the flesh of the young- especially their own children. Nick tries to escape and finds a group of survivors who struggle to make up for their lack knowledge and skills. At the same time he receives messages from his parents who are trying to trick him into their reach.

As they try to survive the social groups form, petty tyrants rise including bullies who dangle the tools of survival in the faces of those they want to control. One method of torture is a pretty horrible game called carrying the can (which involves a lit fuse to a bomb) up a hill to defuse it. Some of the most suspenseful moments of the novel involve this set-up. The climax involves a bridge of humanity that I don’t want to spoil but let me just say created a very disturbing Image.

As much as Blood Crazy works as disturbing apocalypse novel it is equally effective of a coming of age novel. While I feel it did an excellent job of exploring a world suddenly devoid of adults I felt like there was plenty of issues that were not touched on. Clark does a great job with characterization and building suspense. The only weakness in this novel for me was the explanation of the whole apocalypse is explained over two chapters and found myself not entirely following these ideas. I think the cause might have been better left a mystery and indeed you can still interrupt it that way.

Overall this novel is not a zombie novel but should appeal to zombie fans as well as readers who enjoy reading about the world ending. The best novels in the sub-genre of apocalypse tend to feel like a long journey and this novel has that feeling. Well worth a read.

1 comment:

Josh Ray said...

I've just re-read this book for the seventh time. And I know this review is older, but I had to comment something.
Considering that The Hunger Games saga just ended theatrically, now seems like a perfect time for Hollywood to scoop this property up for the screen. I adore this story, even with its faults. Simon Clark and Blood Crazy are the reason I started reading apocalyptic fiction in the first place.