Monday, July 24, 2006

City of Saints and Madmen
by Jeff VanderMeer

Rating: 5 out of 5

This book is fucked up. That’s the only way I can explain it. Plainly, simply, without a doubt, fucked up.

So bizarre, I’m not even sure where to begin. The first story was about a necrophiliac missionary that falls in love with a wooden puppet and is nearly sacrificed by a dwarf to a bunch of mushrooms. How a man can write a story like that is beyond me. It’s so out there I don’t think its here anymore.

Nearly half of this book is devoted to squid. The other half mushrooms. But it’s all fantasy. And to me, this is pure fantasy. There was no doubt everything in this book (down to the author’s bio) has more fantasy than the entire Forgotten Realms library.

And I was completely addicted to it all. There were times I tried to put it down, but couldn’t. it was as if the pages were laced with fungus powder that took over my soul and forced me to finish. Yet I should have known this would be an odd book from the start. FBS (Fantasy Book Spot) was giving away two signed copies. I won one copy (I never win anything). When it arrived, it was inscribed to a “Steve” (the other winner). And so it began.

While I’ll freely admit, this style of fantasy isn’t my cup of squid soup, it is the only book I’ve been so excited to finish just so I could write the review. But in the end my review adds about as much as a squid fart to this work.

One final note to those (like me) that dream of writing a novel, short story, or essay. Read this book (as should anyone else). To be blunt, if VanderMeer can get this kind of work published and sold, then anyone can get published. Even me. So thanks to the King Squid, my dream of writing just got a breath of fresh air.
© 2006 Productions

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