Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review of Lucretia and the Kroons, by Victor Lavalle

Title: Lucretia and the Kroons
Author: Victor Lavalle
Publisher: Spiegel and Grau
Release Date: July 23, 2012
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

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Lucretia’s best friend and upstairs neighbor Sunny—a sweet pitbull of a kid, even as she struggles with a mysterious illness—has gone missing. The only way to get her back is for Lucretia to climb the rickety fire escape of their Queens tenement and crawl through the window of apartment 6D, portal to a vast shadowland of missing kids ruled by a nightmarish family of mutants whose designs on the children are unknown. Her search for Sunny takes Lucretia through a dark fantasyland where she finds lush forests growing from concrete, pigeon-winged rodents, and haunted playgrounds. Her quest ultimately forces her to confront the most frightening specter of all: losing, forever, the thing you love the most.

Lucretia and the Kroons is a dazzlingly imaginative adventure story and a moving exploration of the power of friendship and the terror of loss. This all-new novella serves as the perfect companion piece to The Devil in Silver, a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror that continues the story of Lucretia.

This is a horror novella.

That's right.
This is not a kid's story. Not unless you want to give your kids nightmares when they go to sleep at night.

It should have given ME nightmares!

Lucretia enters a nightmarish land where one of her allies is a girl with no jaw. (I was actually going to post a pic to illustrate, but my stomach turned when I did a google search. I will spare you that and just leave it to your imagination.... It's too damn gross. I was trying to eat a sandwich too...) 

There are also dangerous zombie like guys that run around chasing her as she searches for her best friend, Sunny, who mysteriously disappears. Meet the Kroons. Not nice to meet you.

Throw in some flying rats that will tear you to pieces, and weird landscapes, and it feels like our girl Lucretia is on a horrible acid trip. 

And to summarize..... Why haven't I heard of this author before now? I would definitely pick up another of his books.

His level of originality and creativity didn't go unnoticed. And for all the dark imagery and characters, it was actually surprisingly touching. Because Lucretia is really hurting over her best friend's terminal illness. I shed a few tears, I will admit, as Lucretia fought to find Sunny in this nightmarish land, and fought equally hard not to let her go. 

Were the Kroons and this horrid land real?  Or a young girl's imagination fueled by her intense emotional struggle with potentially losing her best friend? You are going to have to brave this book to find out.

"Being young doesn’t protect you. Horrors come for kids, too."

How very truthful that saying is, in 'Lucretia and the Kroons', and in real life.


About the Author: Victor LaValle is the author of a short-story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus, and two novels, The Ecstatic & Big Machine.
His most recent novel, Big Machine, was named a best book of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Nation. Big Machine was awarded the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel, the American Book Award, and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.
Other prizes include a Whiting Writers' Award, a USA Ford Fellowship,a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the key to Southeast Queens.

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