Three flying saucers
Cannibal Hearts is the sequel to Catskinner’s Book, which I reviewed last year. Although paranormal/urban fantasy isn’t my favorite sub-genre, I enjoyed Catskinner’s book. To me, the best aspects of the story were a world where it felt like anything could happen, and the dual nature of the main character (not in some boring literary or psychological sense; it’s more like demonic possession).
All of the characters who survived the first book reappear, as do a few of the paranormal elements, such as a dimension-bending garden supply store, heavy metal men, and hermaphrodite love interests. One of the latter appeared in a sex scene which romance readers might find tame, but was the most explicit thing I’ve ever seen in print. So, although I think the main character might resonate with younger readers, I wouldn’t recommend the book to them.
In the middle portion of the book, I would have appreciated a faster pace, as the characters simply went about everyday work and social activities. I think the author was trying to portray that the main character had settled into a routine which could then be disrupted by a violent attack, but to me the routine activities lasted too long and the action scenes were a bit brief.
However, once the bad guy sent his minions after the good guys, I enjoyed those brief action scenes. I found the first attack humorous, which I believe was the author’s intention, and there was quite a bit of tension to the two follow-up attacks.
I also enjoyed the settings in the story, such as an abandoned factory, a Mississippi River gambling boat, and a poorly-designed medical center. [I don’t mean that the medical center was poorly described by the author, rather that the author described its design flaws.]
This book’s ending seemed a little stronger than that of the previous book, but I felt it could have ended a chapter or two earlier. My opinion is probably wrong, however, as I find myself thinking this about many books and films. When I watch “Star Wars”, I think the story ends when the Death Star blows up; I don’t need a scene where the characters get medals pinned on their chests. Let me know in the comments section if you enjoy these “cooldown” scenes/chapters. Do you think ending a story with a BOOM is too abrupt?
Returning to Cannibal Hearts, there were several loose ends which I’m assuming will be wrapped up in future books. I was particularly intrigued by a certain type of “lost city” which was hinted at, and I hope it will be rediscovered in a future book.