The Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby
The Dead need a King. Marius dos Hellespont will find them one. Just as soon as he stops running away.
Weird, strange, and cynical with good doses of humour and charm. That's probably the best way I can describe The Corpse Rat King, the debut novel from Lee Battersby, published by Angry Robot Books. Like most books from Angry Robot, The Corpse Rat King is based on a really cool idea and has an electric start. But like most author debuts from Angry Robot, The Corpse Rat King starts running out of steam about half way through before picking things up again for a big bang ending. Ultimately this is a charming booking and I think everyone who reads it will find at least one thing they like.
When corpse-rat Marius is blackmailed by the undead to find them a new king, he runs hard and fast, hoping he can get far enough away and stay out of their reach. But things are not so simple for Marius, he has been cursed to take on the characteristics of the dead, and the only way to lift the curse is to complete his quest.
I liked this story - Battersby creates a lot of new ideas from some dark themes, but contrasts them against a lighthearted method of presentation. This story felt at times like a collection of short stories tied together with an overarching story arc, which was cool at times, but caused a lot disruption to the flow of the book. That overarching story arc played second fiddle to the short stories, which I think impacted on my overall satisfaction at the conclusion of this story. It felt like it was simply a means for telling these entertaining discrete events. And that might work for you.
Marius is a bit of a dick as a person, and his character arc is all about becoming less of a dick and taking responsibility for his actions. I did find myself sympathising with his plight, but the choices he makes in response to his plight makes him a less than endearing character. But he has a very cynical sense of humour which will likely resonate with a lot of people and make Marius more likeable / relateable.
The writing here is different, with Battersby using a mix of omniscient and third limited viewpoints to tell his story. Often when Battersby starts narrating in omnicient, he goes off on random tangents that do some neat world building in support of the plot, but feel like those cut scenes from Family Guy. The writing uses a lot of modern colloquialisms, which makes the story more accessible but at the cost of an authentic secondary world building.
There are a lot of things to like in this debut novel from Battersby. If you are into weirdness and / or reprehensible knaves, I think you will get a real kick out of this story.
This The Corpse Rat King book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read The Corpse Rat King?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Corpse Rat King reader reviews
7.4/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
On a remote jungle island, genetic engineers have created a dinosaur game park. An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now on...
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the kno...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Sixth World of Men
Walter E Mark
On the surface, the sixth world of men is a glorious world. It is a world of great technological advancement. It is a world that has been at peace for a hundred years. Whil...
The Lathe of Heaven
Ursula Le Guin
George Orr is a mild and unremarkable man who finds the world a less than pleasant place to live: seven billion people jostle for living space and food. But George dreams d...
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi...
The Chronicles of Fate and Choice
This is where it all began. Everything. Love, hate, good, evil, us and them. Before the Gods by KS Turner successfully breaks the genre rules to produce something unique, c...
A combination of previously unseen stories, favourites from Interzone and contributions to numerous anthologies, IMAGINED SLIGHTS showcases one of the most versatile and el...
A Scanner Darkly
Philip K Dick
Substance D is not known as Death for nothing. It is the most toxic drug ever to find its way on to the streets of LA. It destroys the links between the brain's two hem...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: