Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The incredible variety of material that turns up in fantasy is just amazing.

Yesterday I finished reading The Lurkers by Charles Butler, which has a bodysnatcher element that I definitely appreciated. There was even a cemetary scene with what appear to be zombies.

Soon after the beginning of our story, a rather unique group known as the lurkers is trying to take over the world or at least the town where Verity and her brother John live. John has inadvertantly given them an opening. Only Verity recognizes what is happening.

Verity, as her name suggests, is seriously into truth and that is the reason given for why she doesn't succumb to the "lurkers" the way everyone else has. I like that idea. We live in a culture where truth doesn't matter much anymore, nor does anyone much regret its loss. Two books I've read recently (Gilda Joyce and the Ladies of the Lake and The Shadow Thieves) have very nice main characters for whom lying has become an acceptable fact of life. So to create a character who recognizes truth seems to me an interesting idea. Almost unique.

I did feel, though, that we could have used more explanation for why truth mattered so much to her. Having been named Verity just didn't seem enough. And I also thought it would have been more realistic to have her seek help from her parents earlier and more rigorously. She accepted some really creepy stuff rather easily. More parental involvement would have been more frightening, too. To have had aid from Dad and then lost it because he, too, had gone over to the lurkers would have been quite chilling.

This is, however, a book for children rather than young adults and perhaps there's a limit to how chilling the author felt he should be.

This is a British book that doesn't appear to be available in the United States. I wonder what kind of impact the ending will have in Britain. I like to imagine thousands of kids hunting for the cafe at Tesco's where Verity...

Well, it would be exciting if that happened.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed The Lurkers. Alas it's not available in the US - which is seriously short-sighted of someone ! Charlie's books are nicely creepy (this from someone who's not a horror fan but has been converted by Charlie's books !)