Friday 30 March 2012

The 13th Horseman review

The 13th Horseman
Barry Hutchinson
March 1st 2012
HarperCollins Childrens' Books

In a darkly funny, action-packed adventure, fourteen year old Drake is surprised to discover the Horsemen of the Apocalypse hanging out in his garden shed. He’s even more surprised when they ask him to join them. The team is missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths, and they think Drake is the boy for the job.

The 13th Horseman was a book that I wasn't 100 percent sure about, mostly because it's a book for pre-teen boys, but I'm glad to say that the awesome premise completely won me over! I mean, who wouldn't want to read a book about a boy (I don't know how old is but I'm going to guess 13/14) who becomes the 4th horseman of the apocalypse?! Just me...?

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get on with the characters in the book, but I was really wrong! I actually thought all of the characters were really great, and really funny. All of the conversations between Famine and Pestilence were pretty hilarious, as well as each of them on their own. The three original horsemen (War, Pestilence and Famine) were definitely my favourites, though Drake was good too (of course!). I just kind of love books that make me laugh, even though there was one particularly crude bit (boys toilets, anyone?) I didn't mide too much because it was just bizarre and hilarious and I don't even know. Even though War was technically my favourite, I'm going to say I'm Team Famine just because Barry said that nobody else was ;) 

Throughout the book, there was a perfect balance of humour and action. And I've already spoken about the humour, so I guess it's onto the action! I really liked the fact that even though the whole Four Horsemen, Apocalypse business is all old and Biblical that the main bad guy was all about the, as the horsemen would put it, Techno-Magic-Mumbo-Jumbo. It provided and interesting (and humourous) contrast as we had to watch these four fairly odd  people deal with something they knew nothing about. Honestly, just their horseman outfits had me cracking up! I have a serious love for the thing that Pestilence was wearing. Really. It was ridiculous. 

I really enjoyed seeing Drake dealing with the fact that he's Death, and his journey of not accepting it at all to actually becoming a hero because of it. A very ironic hero, mind, bearing the situation, but still a hero all the same! It was just nice to see him come into his own, and stop the bad guy (though I could tell who the bad guy was going to be after about halfway through, it was still a bit surprising), and save the girl (who I also really liked but forgot to mention earlier! Don't go misunderstanding me thinking that just because she needed saving that she was a damsel in distress! Because she wasn't.)

The 13th Horseman was a really fun, action-filled, hilarious book that I'm sure boys and girls alike will enjoy. That is, if they're a bit morbid and find this kind of thing appealing, like me. ;p This book will teach me not to underestimate middle grade books again!


  1. I'm always partial to some middle grade adventuring once in and while, and this sounds pretty awesome!

  2. Great review! I have read this book, and can independently confirm that it is, in fact, ace. I'm hoping this is the first of a series - I laughed my socks off!

  3. Cheers for the review! Really pleased to hear you liked it. I can confirm that there is another Afterworlds book - THE LOST BOOK OF EVERYTHING - which comes out in 2013. The 4 Horsemen aren't the main characters, but they do make a cameo appearance...

  4. I love the sound of this book, will have to get a copy soon!


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