Monday, 22 July 2013

Review: The Zombie Pinocchio

As a young teenager I loved horror. I was indifferent to zombies, but aliens were frequently in my nightmares because they looked so... creepy. A year or two ago, however, I became a zombie fan. Not a fan of the boring shuffle and moan zombies who decay, but a fan of the more predatory living dead and infected. For this reason it's hardly surprising that I picked up a book from the Zombie Fairy Tales series written by Kevin Richey. Strangely  I picked The Zombie Pinocchio. I've never really been a great fan of the Pinocchio tale, but I figured zombies would make the tale much more enjoyable. I was right!

Everyone knows the tale of Pinocchio, right? It's about a child/puppet who is created by a male toymaker who dreams of  being 'a real boy'. In this retelling, the toymaker wants to make the perfect child to fill the lonely void in his heart, but things go horribly wrong (as you probably guess from the title of the book!). The Frankenstein like elements, I think, are what make this book great. It has a setting with dark forbidding streets, the plague, chopped up body bits and even a nosy priest for good measure.

The powerful vocabulary reflects the sinister darkness of the tale. The use of language helps make this story vivid and really 'come alive'. Despite being a reinvention of a well known fairy tale this book succeeds at being gripping. The small doses of well written gore fits this horror perfectly without overdoing it and turning into a gore fest. As a mature reader I would not have minded the book being a bit longer and including more gory descriptions and happenings to really get me scared and repulsed. But, this is a short story so the elements were well portioned for the length of the book.

While it is sad that Geppetto feels such an emotional void, it's also quite disturbing how he goes about collecting the body parts of children and even loving Pinocchio despite the horrific things he does. I certainly get a mad toymaker vibe from this character.

Ultimately, this is a short story, perfect for reading before bed (unless you're prone to nightmares!). Due to how easy it is to read you could probably finish this book in one sitting or even over the course a few commutes. It's a perfect quick read for those who love horror and all things creepy. While I do have a reading list as long as my arm at the moment, I will certainly revisit this series and read them from start to finish. 

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