Friday, June 29, 2012

Review - Doom Rider

The Eulogy (From the Publisher): Seth Crow has lived a thousand lives, and in each one he's been murdered before he turns thirteen.
And now he's being hunted again. But this time it's different.
Enter Lily, who tells him of his fate: Seth is CONQUEST. The first of the four riders of the Apocalypse. And people want him dead, before he can fulfil his destiny. 
Seth's only hope lies in finding the other riders - Strife, Famine and Death. 
Together, the fate of the world lies in their hands ...

The Epitaph (In a Nutshell): A wonderfully dark and twisted take on the horsemen of the Apocalypse. 

Dearly Departed,
We are gathered here today to discuss Doom Rider, by David Gatward. I am big fan of high-concept ideas – if you can sum it up in a sentence, there’s a good chance I’ll be interested. In this case, the moment I heard ‘boy discovers he’s one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse’ and saw the awesome cover, I was sold. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I knew it was being penned by the phenomenal David Gatward. Thanks to his previous series, The Dead, I had an inkling that I’d be in for a wonderfully dark and twisted read. I wasn’t disappointed.

The very first thing that struck me was the brand of religion found in the world of Doom Rider. Seth’s life on the travelling faith show circuit was a really fascinating foundation for the character. I must admit, my own religious knowledge is practically non-existent, but The Way seemed to be a mix of evangelical faiths, borrowing from a few of the mainstream religions without resembling any too closely. This background makes Seth a very conflicted character, and it was precisely because of his origins that I found him so interesting, even more so than Gatward’s previous protagonist of the Dead series, Lazarus Stone. The cast of supporting characters is also varied and colourful, particularly when we begin to meet the other riders, and it’s here that the book really starts to shine.

I read in an interview with Gatward that he decided to take his interpretation of the riders all the way back to their original roots, so he could portray them differently. Well, it worked, because these versions of the horsemen of the apocalypse are like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and this originality makes them all the more awe-inspiring, purely because I was completely unprepared for the strangeness of their abilities (especially Death!). Gatward really has a knack for description, and there are some fantastically gruesome scenes in this one. Whenever I read one of Gatward’s books, I’m reminded of that old creative writing class tip to do with description – use all the senses, not just sight. Gatward is a master of this, and all the senses are constantly engaged, to the point where you’re really there alongside Seth as he struggles with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Doom Rider is a fantastic addition to the YA horror genre, one that every reader with a taste for the darker side of life should read. It will be released in Australia on 5 July 2012.

Check it out on Goodreads, find out more on David Gatward's site, or pre-order it from Readings.

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