Friday, May 28, 2010

Reviewed by Sin - SPARROW ROCK

Sparrow Rock
Nate Kenyon

Gore: Masterful
Sex: It’s the end of the world, and not enough gals for every guy. Sorry, horny teenagers.
Angst: See “Gore”

Let’s be honest, fellow writers, we’ve all thought about how we would end the world. Will it be zombies? Ravenous unicorns, thirsty for human blood? Whatever the means, the important part - the real story - is the aftermath. Who survives, how the fuck do they keep it together, and what happens when shit starts to hit the fan all over again? It’s an immense challenge: after all, it’s been done so many times, in so many ways. I still plan to destroy the world one day (I’ve already done it in a short), and encourage you to do the same. That said, reading “Sparrow Rock” made me realize how high the bar is. For that, I kind of want to punch Nate Kenyon in the face.

I of course mean that as a compliment, and not an invitation to a restraining order. This is one of the best books I’ve read since “Heart Shaped Box.” I was sucked in from page one, so much so that I finished the book in a day’s time. My emotions went from “neat!“ to “ewww!“ and finally, to wanting to curl up in a ball and drink heavily for the rest of the night. Ah, literature. The ending, which I will not spoil, was exactly as it should be. Again, a tough thing in end of the world novels. Too much rosy hope for the future, or bitter pessimism, and you close the book feeling unfulfilled.

I was especially impressed with Nate Kenyon’s handling of teenagers. It’s easy to glamorize that phase, gild the lily to speak. Or worse, forget how an actual teenager thinks and feels altogether. Thankfully, Kenyon remembers what it’s like to be young and, as we all once were, a little stupid. No one comes off as more capable than they should be, nor do they become Saturday cartoon cliches of post-puberty angst. There is only honest angst: earned through blood, tears, and things much worse. Not everyone is entirely likable, yet Kenyon writes about them such that you care anyway. Unlike some novels, there was was never a moment were I was relieved to see someone finally bite it.

As for the sex, I hardly noticed how little was there. High praise, from a pervert such as myself. And I have to admit, not everyone connects “end of the world” to “fucking like bunnies.” Especially with the nasty surprises waiting for this particular band of survivors. Long story short, the mood was not particularly erotic. Though, me being me, I would have nudged a few private talks between male friends into a totally different direction. I mean, it’s the end of the world, you don’t want to get anyone pregnant. And it’s not like you can hop down to the drug store and buy condoms. If I was a man, I would stay far, far away from anything with a vagina, and start taking showers with my buddy under the guise of saving water.

At this point I’m sure I’ve mortified Nate Kenyon, if he’s reading this. So I’ll wrap things up with this: “Sparrow Rock” kicked ass: It’s the kind of book where you get paper cuts, from turning the pages so fast. Go get a copy, along with a bottle of Jack Daniels for later, and clear your schedule for the rest of the day.

B&N link


kenyonn2000 said...

Love this review. :) Thanks.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I kick-ass review, Nat. It gives just the right impression of the end of the world and lack of sex without giving anything away. The image of you as a guy showing with a buddy was a bit overwhelming. "Sparrow Rock with Jack" sounds like a nice marketing tool.

Cate Gardner said...

Thanks for the heads up, Natalie. I'll have to check this one out.