Wednesday 10 August 2011

Invisible Fiends: Doc Mortis review

Invisible Fiends: Doc Mortis
Barry Hutchinson
August 4th 2011
HarperCollins Children's Books

The fourth thrilling book in this darkly funny, horror series Darren Shan called 'deliciously nightmarish'. The first book, Mr Mumbles, is shortlisted for the Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children's Books Kyle wakes up in hospital -- which is strange, because he doesn't remember being ill. And that's not all. He's also deliriously flitting in and out of the Darkest Corners, and in the shadow version of the hospital the surfaces aren't clean, and the sharp instruments aren't used for healing. It's Kyle's most terrifying experience yet, and it's about to get much, much worse. The doctor will see him now! The fourth installment of this darkly comic horror series.

So, before we get started on this, I'd just like to say that I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but despite that, I could follow the story really easily, and there was enough of a recap of the other books (you know like they do, where they drop hints about what happened previously) that I could pick up enough information about it to not be confused. Which was good. Being confused is not fun.

I really liked the idea behind the series, that all these imaginary friends came back with a vengence, but they only thing I want to nitpick about is what sort of kids are coming up with these people as imaginary friends? Like, I get that they were turned evil by living in the Darkest Corners, but still, if my kid was talking about an imaginary friend whose description would match that of a creepy old man in a trenchcoat (you know what I'm getting at there) or an evil doctor (seriously, Doctor + under average height + generic eastern European accent = EVILL. I know these things. I've seen The Human Centipede (something I'm surprised our very own Mr Mortis didn't try! ;p) 

But that was my only real issue with the book. And even that was because I think too much... But everything else was great! It was really fast paced, and I raced through it, desperate for Kyle to have something good happen to him! Seriously, the DAY AFTER he gets attacked by this other guy, he gets stuck in a hospital with this psycho doctor who wants to cut him up and all sorts! And this Doctor was seriously mental. Some of his 'masterpieces' were just horrifying! (The Gallery, Tentacle baby- thing, WOBBLEBOTTOM. Dude, Wobblebottom is scary. Bloody scary.) I just hope Kyle gets a bit of a break.

But one really good thing about it was Mr Mumbles. I haven't read the first book, but I'm gathering Mr Mumbles was being all Vengence-Must-Be-Done-Kill-The-Boy, but he was a bit better in this book. It added a few shades of grey, because it opened up a whole new box of reasons why these imaginary friends turned out the way they did, and it was good to see one who hadn't yet been tainted by the Darkest Corners.

Doc Mortis is a scary, fast paced book that will have your heart racing with fear for Kyle, and wondering how on Earth he'll ever get out of the Darkest Corners.

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