Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Feathered Man by Jeremy de Quidt

Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Hardback
Published1st November 2012
Number of Pages: 368
Book: For Review*
Genre: Historical, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller, Suspense, Fantasy, Action-Adventure, YA
Recommended Age: 11+
Contains: Swearing, Violence, Death, Gruesome Blood, Guts and Gore, Despicable Adults
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Blog: Jeremy de Quidt

An exciting story of ancient curse, science and murder, that will chill you to the bone…
In a German town, long ago, lives a tooth-puller’s boy called Klaus.  It isn’t Klaus’s fault that he sees his master steal a diamond from the mouth of a dead man in Frau Drecht’s lodging house, or that Frau Drecht and her murderous son want it for themselves.
He has nothing to do with the Jesuit priest and his Aztec companion who turn up out of the blue looking for it, or the Professor of Anatomy who takes such a strange interest in it.  No, Klaus doesn’t want any trouble.
But when he finds himself with the diamond in his pocket, things really can’t get much worse – that is, until the feathered man appears.  Then they become a matter of life… and death.

"Too much curiosity is a killing thing…”
Herr Kusselmann is a tooth puller.  He takes teeth from dead people and places them in the mouths of the living. 
Klaus is his servant, chosen for his beautiful white teeth.  Kindness is not the reason the street boy was hired.  Kusselmann has a violent motive, obviously. 
I mean, why does a street rat need teeth so white?
But more about that later.  Our story really begins in a loft - Frau Drechts' loft, to be precise. 
It's there Klaus sees his master pull a diamond from a dead man's tooth. 
Kusselmann doesn't tell Frau Drechts.  That's a mistake.  The one thing you should never, ever do is cross Frau Drechts - and her terrifying, murderous son. 
But they aren't the only ones after the diamond. 
The diamond Klaus finds in his possession. 
Yes, it all looks pretty dire.  
But, oh, it gets so much worse when the feathered man enters the equation... 
I do love a good spooktastic book and The Feathered Man was so awesomely spooky!  I was just like instantly hooked!  It was so brilliantly gruesome and utterly addictive.  I'm a pretty seasoned horror-creepy movie watcher and book reader, but even I found this one disturbing!  Probably not one to read in the middle of the night when it's raining.  You might be a wee by freaked out.  Just a warning!  But young and old teens alike will adore this deliciously dark and chilling book!
The characters were all very, very strong.  Some I liked.  Some I didn't.  Some scared md to death.  But all were very strong.  I did get a wee bit confused about which name was which minor character at times but it didn't affect my read much.  Nor did the fact that there were like four or five characters with names starting with 'K' - it wasn't real hard to keep track of them, surprisingly, even though I know others have had problems with that.  The main ‘K’ was Klaus, who had had a really, really hard life, poor kid.  He was quick, street smart and brave.  Liesel also had a really, really hard life.  She was caring, though, smart and determined.  And I really liked Marcus – Herr Assistant – because he was curious, did good sleuthing and was caring.  Karolus, on the other hand, scared the heebie jeebies outta me.  And the priest dude was creepy too. Or maybe that was just that creepy, blood eating little monkey...  Shudder.  And Frau Drechts was just horrid - I really hated her!  She was just a despicable human being. 
Basically, I either liked or was creeped out by the characters.  And the monkey.  Ugh…
The writing was very beautiful and super creepy.  It was all in third person, which meant less personal, but multiple characters to follow: yay!  De Quidt's visualisation was intense and amazing.  But the perspectives jumped a lot – we could have two, maybe more, POVs in a single paragraph.  It didn't bother me overly but it might be confusing.  I loved his repetition of: "Sometimes, you see, there just isn't a choice" which was a real moral and thought provoking aspect of the story.  And the plot, thanks to multiple characters to follow, was full of suspense: yay!  It was totally gripping.  It was also really weird, very bizarre and dreamlike.  It was very much a suspenseful mystery for most of the book, but near the end...  My God, it was just... um...  Whoa.  I barely have words for what it was.  Fast paced, terrifying, so freaking additive it was untrue.  And I had no idea how it could possibly end.  The end, btw?  Stunning. 
And the setting was very much gothic Victorian – very atmospheric and creepy.  You get that real Dickens-style of living.  You know: even when our lead kids wanted to do the right thing there was always that feeling that they needed to look out for themselves first because they knew no one else would.  I also loved how the streets of Germany blended with the dreamlike exotic jungle.  It was amazing. 
I should point out that there's quite a bit of gory stuff.  Ok, quite a lot gory.  And scary, disturbing stuff too.  So, not for the little ones, but early teens will love it.  We all know how the kids love the horror!  But the parents get something, y'know, besides the scary.  Now, it took a while to become evident, but there was a real philosophical feel to the book.  About faith and proof and religions.  About what happens when we die.  About whether the religion we believe in is the 'true' one, even though it is the one we believe.  Heavy stuff.  But de Quidt managed to write it all in in a way that was light as a feather (forgive the pun) even when it managed to wriggle its way into my head and just stick there, making me really think. 
The Feathered Man was an amazing, deeply disturbing, addictive book, one that had me hooked start to finish.  Even though I was thoroughly creeped out of my head, I stated up very, very late to finish it.  Needless to say, my dreams were deeply disturbing that night.  But it was worth it.  It was one heck of a book, totally twisted and totally addictive.  I can't wait for my next de Quidt!  

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt
This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Opal

Challenges It's Taking Part In:

Happy Reading
* This book was received from RandomHouse in exchange for an honest review

No comments: