A Copy of this Book was given to me in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley
So let me start, right here, by saying this. If you read nothing else about my review, if you want to go in with just my recommendation: Go read this book. If you have any interest in Urban Fantasy you need to read this.
Lets start of course, with the blurb:
“Darren Trott has a job, a feisty girlfriend (with plans) and a house with potential. Oh yes, he’s living the dream. It just isn’t the dream he applied for.
You see, Darren likes taking photos of plastic models in real world settings. He calls it art. His girlfriend Amanda calls it a frivolous pursuit. She wants him to give it all up and turn his garage studio into a nail bar. Trouble is, his ‘art’ won’t let him. Every time Darren takes a picture, something very peculiar happens. Something amazing, and weird, and genuinely out of this world.
Psychopathic relatives, aboriginal demons, warrior queens, and a Brownie called George (with claws, a pork-pie hat and an attitude bigger than a banker’s wage), all want a piece of Darren. But they’ll have to form an orderly queue because there’s the small matter of an impending apocalypse to sort out first…
DC Farmer cordially invites you to join him in exploring the next white-knuckle case report from the Hipposync archives, following on from the highly received, The 400Lb Gorilla.”
So that blurb does not do this story justice. First, and foremost, this book is exceedingly well written. It has a dry British styled humor throughout for one. Every word has its place and nothing is wasted.
Further, the story is just plain engrossing. I could not stop reading, and after a certain point I had to finish. I just had to. I needed to see where things went.
Next, I wanted to talk about the characters. Our protagonist, nay our hero, is Darren. A man in his late 20’s, he has a boring but easy job, an inheritance from his dead mother, a hot girlfriend, and very little motivation other then to take pictures of what basically amount to Dioramas. Kinda like this one here only less fantasy oriented and more realistic. He finds it almost zen like to get the perfect image with a combination of figures and sets that he has hand crafted.
Of course, his girlfriend Amanda does not like this at all, this Frivolous Pursuit, and does her level best to have him trash his stuff so she can turn the garage into a nail salon.
But that’s only part of the whole story. You see, when poor Darren was a child, at age 9…an event happened that caused him to basically have a breakdown. Doctors, psychiatrists, and constant bullying followed him along with a nickname.
This made him VERY human to me, and I could not help but feel empathy towards him. I was, growing up, very much like him, minus the strange supernatural event. I was the loner, the fat kid, the one bullied and made fun of. I retreated into books and video games, personally. He went into diorama making. Creating fictional stories and worlds in his head.
The rest of the cast consisted of Amanda the superficial celebrity obsessed girlfriend, Sanjay his stalwart and really only friend, and Amanda’s family the Crays. I won’t go into too much about any one of these other then the fact that Amanda is a prime example of the superficial celebrity obsessed culture we have, and Sanjay is a sheltered nerd who just wants to love what he loves, like Darren. Which is building a complete recreation of Mesopotamia just as an fyi.
What threw me off however are some of the tonal changes. Be aware that the story starts rather lighthearted and humorous…and then gets dark, and then depressing, and then violent, and then hopeful. My emotions, my feels, the roller-coaster they were on, just damn.
And the ending was perfect.
I give this a solid 4/5. If you have any interest in Urban Fantasy, you should check this book out in a heartbeat.