Sunday, April 15, 2012
Creepy Crawly Goodness...
WUFTOOM by Mary G. Thompson (to be released 5/8/12 by Clarion Books / 250 pp / hc)
For two years, Evan has been bedridden. No doctor can explain what is wrong with him, but a worm-like creature who visits him in the night informs him he is becoming one of them. Evan is also visited by a Vitfly, a winged creature who attempts to use him to locate the hideout of the Wuftoom, the name of the race of worms Evan is transforming into. As a bribe, the Vitfly manages to let Evan "enter" some of the kids at his school, giving him a taste of what he's been missing since becoming ill.
Evan eventually turns into one of the Wuftoom, yet his mind remains mostly human: his memories of his human mother continually haunt him, something the elder Wuftoom tell him must stop if he is to survive in his new state. But as Evan learns to live in his new body, and use Wuftoom-designed hunting weapons, the Vitflies get to him: Evan is faced with defending his new race, or selling them out so the Vitflies don't eat his mother. An inevitable war between Wuftoom and Vitfly ensues, leading up to a heartbreaking but satisfying conclusion.
WUFTOOM is an inventive dark fantasy, loaded with creepy crawlers, savage battles, and a host of interesting characters (both human and non-human). As a plus, it isn't afraid to hide the gruesomeness of what it must be like for a former human to live like an animal (some of the feeding scenes are quite grim, although written in a non-offensive manner). But the novel's highlight is it's study of loyalty and the all-too human way Evan reacts to the new challenges he continually faces.
Yet another fine modern YA title that's equally as enjoyable for adults (not to mention the author's first novel). Check it out.
(NOTE: This review will also appear in the May, 2012 issue of THE HORROR FICTION REVIEW)