Sunday, 4 July 2010

SFX review of The Dead (August 2010)

Young adult horror with guts...

When it comes to young adult horror, Darren Shan wears the crown, but pretender David Gatward has made a strong case for his succession to the throne with his debut, The Dead.

It's the story of Lazarus Stone, a young man with a destiny... Nothing new there, then, but what the book lacks in innovation it more than makes up for with its gruesome thrills, relentless set-pieces and knack for distilling the voice of young on the printed page.

Hell is full, you see, and as any Dawn of the Dead fan knows, when Hell is full, the dead will walk the Earth. Now it's up to Lazarus (along with best mate Craig and sword-wielding, alcoholic angel Arielle) to stop them after Lazarus's father, the guardian between worlds, goes missing.

Although The Dead is unlikely to appeal to readers over a certain age, young 'uns will lap up its blend of grisly post-Hellraiser body horror, pacy narrative and wicked streak of black humour.

It's the first part of a trilogy, so don't expect any conclusions, but on the basis of part one, horror for kids has a compelling, and very twisted, new voice.

(Jordan Farley)

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