This book is almost twice the size of the previous one. It is massive and you really look forward to a nice long read. To getting lost in the world of these amazing characters.
For some inexplicable reason (our protagonist) Cleo’s eyes have doubled in size. They are gigantic. Bigger than her ears, bigger than her mouth, they now take up 25% of her face. They are freakishly and unrealistically huge in a Manga style way. This series has some wonderful depictions of the beautiful diversity present in human beings. It embraces the alternative, the different and the individual but in a realistic and faithful way. We now have a cartoon character foisted within our verisimilitude. There is no explanation, it’s not a clever metaphor, and it just doesn’t work.
If she had big eyes from the start, that would be fine. If the other characters had commented upon her big eyes that would be reasonable. If we knew they were being exaggerated for a reason or dramatic effect that would be okay too. Heck if everyone had big eyes that would normalise things. But this breaks the fourth wall and flushes all the established credibility down the toilet. Like cats becoming primates and lifting up the floorboards. Yep that happens too.
Another thing is we appreciate the great 80s movies references because they are subtle and unobtrusive. Plugging your favourite band the same way would also be acceptable but having a six page spread of them singing live is too self-indulgent. Admittedly there are established characters there but why not create a fake band that is a clever nod rather than brazen advertising.
This is such a shame as the story and characters are so intriguing. You care about them, you want to remain part of their lives but the creator is putting obstacles in your way. The last page is an astonishing cliff-hanger and there are plenty of hooks to keep you interested, Myrtle in particular.
It is only these points that drag it upwards to barely rate a No Thumbs!
Tomorrow: Wet Moon – book 4: Further Realms of Fright – Ross Campbell