Friday, 24 February 2012

Oliver Twisted by J D Sharpe

6th February 2012, Electric Monkey
288 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Themes: Vampires, Zombies and miscellaneous other woe-begotten beings and violence

"Flesh," the woe-begotten moaned at Oliver, baring teeth which were ragged and black. "Flesh" came another moan, and he turned to see two more behind. They began to shuffle towards him, barefoot. The world according to Oliver Twisted is simple. Vampyres feed on the defenceless, orphans are sacrificed to hungry gods and if a woe-begotten catches your scent it will hunt you forever. On the advice of a corpse, Oliver flees his ghastly orphan life to seek his destiny in the dark streets of old London Town, despite the perils of the woe-begotten zombie-infested journey. There he meets the shadowy Dodger, the evil old soul-stealer Fagin, and the menacing Bill Sikes, who is more beast than man. But will Oliver Twisted be the world's salvation, or its downfall?! 

The Mole's Thoughts 
When  I first picked this up and saw the strapline "Please sir, I want some GORE" I wondered what I had let myself in for. I reasoned that this was a children's book and so it couldn't be that bad. Could it? I steeled myself and settled down to read. And read. And read. I will admit now that it is more than 40 years since I laboured through Dickens' version of this story and this version was proving to be anything but labouring. It quickly became apparent that the horror element that would be shocking and taxing in adult horror, was schoolboy(girl) horror that talks of gore without the shocking detail. 

The story follows the incidents (at least as I remember them) in Dickens' version but each incident has a very different plot attached and the relevance of each incident dovetails into the story smoothly. There is 1 very significant difference though... Dickens' didn't do a sequel but somehow I suspect Oliver Twisted will be back... well I certainly hope so. A very enjoyable read that its target audience will love!

Another book that you may enjoy is Mortlock by Jon Mayhew

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