Wonderblood Hardcover – 8 May 2018
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- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250066069
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250066060
- Product Dimensions : 16.28 x 2.92 x 24.38 cm
- Publisher : St Martin's Press (8 May 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 664,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Whicker has imagined a fierce future...Dense, dark, haunting. --Booklist
Whicker's debut sets the stage for a possible series full of bloodlust, court intrigue, and unforgettable characters. For fans of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth series, and George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books. --Library Journal
Told in rich, dense prose, Whicker's fantasy feels like a blood-steeped dream: there are mummified heads and a religion based on astronauts. The story's voice is vibrant and warm as the Florida heat --Publishers Weekly
In a novel marked with heart-stopping violence, brutal ritual, surreal courtly intrigue, and moments of piercing beauty, Julia Whicker imagines a clash of religions in a broken future. The characters, and their world, are unforgettable. --Vivien Shotwell, author of Vienna Nocturne
Visceral and intense... a fully built-out world, rich with color and detail. --Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Wonderblood is a richly imagined, otherworldly tale about the power - and danger - of faith and belief. I loved this book's beautiful prose and its startling, brutal, and poetic images; I loved its unique premise and masterful worldbuilding; I loved its complicated, passionate, and mesmerizing characters. Julia Whicker is a genius. This is a strange, daring, and masterful first novel. --Edan Lepucki, New York Times bestselling author of California
A richly imagined broken world, one whose land, customs, history, and people are so sharply conveyed that they seem almost to have been incised into the page. I admire Wonderblood for its absorbing and unsettling story, for the uncanny beauty of its prose, but above all else for the daring of its tone, which begins in pitch darkness and brightens not to white but to a more lustrous black. --Kevin Brockmeier, New York Times bestselling author
In fiercely glittering prose Julia Whicker evokes an apocalyptic America where medicine is illegal, everyone is searching for portents and only a severed head can offer protection. I love how richly imagined this novel is and I love how relentlessly it moves towards its amazing climax. Wonderblood is a stunning debut. --Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author
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Plot and characters . . . . I think I liked the character John the best, but perhaps also the man with cut off ears. I think that the high priest was the bad guy, at least unlikeable. I also liked how the two main women characters went off together at the end.
Yeah, I know science fiction doesn't really fit this book.
All you can ask for is a book that opens a window on the world and lets you see things from a new perspective, and so to feel some commonality with the author. It is a rare accomplishment.
The story is set 500 (or maybe 1000?) years in the future in a dystopian world where a sickness called Bent Head has wiped out much of the population. The descendents of the survivors worship astronauts, travel the "deathscapes" in carnivals that behead people, and view medicine/surgery as witchcraft. The book follows a group of characters through a series momentous events and tracks how their views of the world change. It's about the absurdity of the human condition, how little we understand at any given moment, and faith/doubt in the face of those things.
I've seen other reviewers call this YA fiction, which it's not, even though one of the characters is a teenager. Dystopian fiction is a better label, but it's literature first, so don't expect it to be plot driven - this is a book about feelings and ideas. The writing is lush and evocative, and there is just enough mystery and coincidence in the world that it feels real - like a medieval funhouse-mirror version of our own world, but a mirror nonetheless.
I'm really not qualified to make this statement, but I feel it, so I'll say it anyway: Julia Whicker must be one of the greatest writers of our generation, if not one of the greatest writers alive.
"The pain of it all—Wonderblood—made the unreal real and so sometimes magic didn’t seem so much like a lie after all, and that confused her."
"He was afraid of his destiny, chokingly, overwhelmingly afraid, and suddenly it didn't matter whether he believed in magic or she did or if it was real or if her mother was right and they were all just fools walking in a pointless, bloody parade toward the end of time. Her eyes was open. She could run or not, she could love him or not, she could miss her brother or hate him forever. It was all going to hurt."
The faith centered on bloodshed (the Wonderblood doctrine) resides in a miserable, comfortless world, populated by characters with names that sound like Tarot cards (The Executionatrix, The Hierophant, The Pardoness, so cool!) who struggle to accept their place inside of this universe. Those ones who can sustain their faith manage to do it based on what they believe to be direct revelations, and they are the only, few ones who seem to find purpose and a simulacrum of peace. And they keep believing, even when the old religion seems dead, because there is always a new faith making itself apparent not too far off.
"I said that faith is both reasonless and the reason for everything. Beware any certainty, High Priest. For not many things are certain, and the ones that are, certainly have no reason to be."
I hold dear those books that let me find refuge in a world that is strange, complex and mysterious, but close enough to the known reality that it is easy to draw parallels to the day-to-day. This was one of those books and I happily recommend it, and not only to those who enjoy just sci-fi or dystopian fiction, because I think this book easily transgresses genre.