The Walls of the Castle / Tom Piccirilli
synopsis – Kasteel is a prisoner of the Castle. He grieves the death of his son, the collapse of his marriage, and the hopelessness and guilt which rule his life. He survives inside the Castle walls, subsisting on stolen food and meds, sometimes befriending the other prisoners, sometimes getting the beat-down from the Castle wardens. But also within the walls are the secrets of life and death, and of redemption. Can Kasteel find the will to unlock these secrets and escape to the outside world?
reaction – A poetic, dreamy tale of a lost soul searching for a way out of life’s tragic misfortune. The Castle was a powerful and compelling fortress which just happened to present as a mega hospital. The twists and turns of the Castle corridors and secret passages were reminiscent of the industrial institutions of the modern world, and seemed to echo across the Jungian tragedy of the human condition. Highly recommended for those who appreciate poetic, yet straightforward and modern prose.
recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.
Animal Kingdom / Iain Rob Wright
synopsis – A dad on the cusp of a divorce takes his young son to the zoo. But what should be a fun father-son bonding time turns into a blood and gore fest as the imprisoned animals mysteriously escape from their enclosures and rip the humans apart. Father and son get lucky and join a small band of human holed up in one of the zoo’s buildings. Now all they have to do is wait for help to arrive. No such luck. Turns out almost all the non-human animals in the world have decided to go on a shred-and-eat-humans spree. Time for plans B, C, D, E…
reaction – I admit the scenario of imprisoned animals escaping and putting the smack-down on their human wardens held some appeal. Their methods of escape, however, weren’t explained. Neither was the trigger point. Stereotypical characters. Lots of slashing and burning of animals, both non-human and human. A predictable ending. Overall, the story had the appeal of a late night B movie.
recommendation – You’re taking your chances with this hit or miss book.