Thursday, February 26, 2009
REVIEW: Cluck by Eric D. Knapp--Free Book Friday
Title: Cluck: Murder Most Fowl
Editor: Eric D Knapp
Posted by: veinglory
Cluck: Murder Most Fowl by Eric D Knapp is wonderfully presented, cleverly promoted and skillfully written book. As a lover of chickens and of horror stories I approached it with great expectations. I was hoping for something along the lines of the small budget agri-horror zombie movie 'Black Sheep'.
Cluck, however, is a much more mixed bag. The first third of the book meanders somewhat, where some mysterious event touches a rooster and a boy who move rather erratically towards their fated roles. The middle section brings together the rooster, now a villain with a harem of followers and the boy, now a rather strange poultry-oriented leader of a secret occult society (with an unfortunately an inept farmer in the middle). And everything is, at least temporarily, tidied up for a feel-good ending.
The problem for me was a writing style that as witty and whimsical by relentlessly tangential, round-about and parenthetical (foot-note-ical and otherwise wandering). This meant that for a large part of the book, where there is more a promise of a plot than an actual plot, the book was very easy to put down. I read Cluck intermittently over many months which probably interfered still further with the coherence of the story.
It was rather like the author was constantly pointing out things of interest but so obtrusively present that he obstructed my view, as a reader, of the very things he was pointing out. While the book is highly original, written with assurance and flair, and full of the kind of things I normally enjoying a book (yes, I normally even enjoy humorous authorial intrusion such as practiced by R A MacAvoy in the Damiano trilogy)… I was never very engaged by this book. I think wry whimsy is a great condiment, like mustard, but if you add too much it really can spoil a meal.
I would give this book a 10 in its objective qualities, but no more than a 5 in terms of how much I enjoyed it, so I will split the difference and call it 7.5. For free book Friday I will give you a chance to decide for yourself. Just reply here with an email address. A winner will be chosen on Monday to received a brand new copy of Cluck.