Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not a Bad Diversion

As I said in yesterday's post, reading The Corpse Goddess by Kristi Jones was a bit out of the norm based on my historical reading preferences. It's a good thing that the book and it's content is also out of the norm. I liked getting out of my comfort zone, particularly with this book. It wasn't a commitment book, it was more of a light read, but it had a fun story that rolled along at a decent pace, interesting history lessons in a area I knew little about, but best of all the characters were intriguing and engaging.

I would be among the first to disparage and bemoan the swelling crescendo of fantasy novels particularly those spawned off of the Harry Potter and Twilight series. On BookBlogs, and in my local writing group, the results of this uptick can be seen quite readily and most of the writing is syrupy and not worthwhile. For a moment that's what I thought I was getting into with The Corpse Goddess. Instead I found a fun story with compelling characters and an eminently fresh story that had a fantastic bent and flashes of humor.

I read an article a few weeks ago in the Writer's Digest about creating suspense and providing surprises and twists to keep the reader involved and always guessing. Miss Jones does this throughout her novel. One of my favorite parts occurred when the protagonist, Meg, drives home to confront her parents and runs into her father. Keep in mind that Meg is slowly decomposing and turning into a corpse. Her father should be shocked to see her decay.

Meg shifted her feet, feeling exposed, while her father looked her up and down. His eyes lingered on her bandaged hands. "Ah. I see you have begun your transformation. This is a surprise. Your mother will be most definitely pleased."

I saw a few of her twists coming and was happily surprised with them. This one was one I missed and thought was well done. 

I liked some other aspects of the book. Particularly this simile:

Their captive struggled into a sitting position, his arms bound behind his back. His delicate white skin burned peeled tomato red. Snot ran from his nose. Hatred radiated off of him like a Texas heat wave.

Finally, I said I really like the character development. There is one major character, Dr. Gonzalez, who was turning out to be a somewhat shallow character, all of a sudden hit new depths when he told his son why he had to help Meg. This little passage too came out of left field, but did so much to provide needed character development that it really made the character.

“I couldn't save your mother, Armando. But what wakes me up at night is knowing that I didn't do everything I could to help her. God help me, I couldn't watch her die. I stayed away from the hospital, and I buried myself in work. I did everything to avoid seeing her wither away. I did everything to avoid the pain and the mess and the decay. I won't do that to another human being ever again. Not ever.”

All in all it was a good book to read and although the genre isn't my cup of tea, I will read Miss Jones' next book and look forward to the next in the series.