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Book Review: Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson

Title:  Immortal Lycanthropes
Author:  Hal Johnson
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre:  Teen/YA/Paranormal
Date Read:  August 2012
Release Date:  September 4, 2012
Rating:  3.75
Locate It:  Amazonor Barnes & Noble

Syopsis:  “A shameful fact about humanity is that some people can be so ugly that no one will be friends with them. It is shameful that humans can be so cruel, and it is shameful that humans can be so ugly.”

So begins the incredible story of Myron Horowitz, a disfigured thirteen-year-old just trying to fit in at his Pennsylvania school. When a fight with a bully leaves him unconscious and naked in the wreckage of the cafeteria, Myron discovers that he is an immortal lycanthrope—a were-mammal who can transform from human to animal. He also discovers that there are others like him, and many of them want Myron dead. “People will turn into animals,” says the razor-witted narrator of this tour-de-force, “and here come ancient secrets and rivers of blood.”

My  Thoughts:  If you take Roald Dahl’s James & the Giant Peach, Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, and Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code and combine them all together into one book, then you’ll have an idea of what Immortal Lycanthropes is like to read.  It was a definite wild ride.  I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this book  (well, maybe The Night Circus, but I didn’t really like that book).

Amazon has Immortal Lycanthropes listed for ages 12 and up.  I personally think that is a little young for this book.  My son will be turning 12 next month, I wouldn’t be comfortable letting him or his friends read it because of a few words used in the story.  Totally not a big deal but I just really think ages 14 and up would be more appropriate. There are many characters in this book and so many settings.  We cross the country with the main character, Myron, as he simultaneously tries to discover his past, figure out what type of animal he turns into, and  avoid those who want to kill or use him.

The author, Hal Johnson, does a great job creating a magical alternative world right smack in the middle of the real world.  Immortal Lycanthropes is not a book of warm fuzzy were-animals who romp around having fun with their “magic”.  It is gritty and real.  “Real” in the sense that immortality is not always a gift in some ways it can be a curse.

I think what I appreciated the most out of this book was the ending.  It was a surprise and I was very happy with it.  I also appreciate the fact that this is a stand alone book, not just the lead in to a new series.

I’d also like to say thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and for giving me a digital copy of Immortal Lycanthropes to read in exchange for my impartial review.

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