Top positive review
Not a YA novel, as marketed.
on January 21, 2004
Simon Clark, Blood Crazy (Leisure, 1995)
How this book gets characterized as a young adult novel is completely beyond me. Hey, folks: just because a novel's protagonist is under twenty-one years of age does not make a novel aimed at the young adult market.
Nick Aten ("rhymes with Satan") goes to bed one night convinced that all is right with the world. He wakes up the next morning and finds out how terribly wrong he is; something has caused all of the world's adults to go crazy and start killing their children. Those who have no children just go after everyone under a certain age (undetermined at the beginning of the book). Needless to say, the children are not altogether happy with this. Nick escapes and heads out of town, banding together with various other survivors against millions of people whose whole goal is their destruction.
In other words, it's your basic post-apocalyptic novel. And from that perspective, it's a good enough read. It's hard to review this objectively, since I had it marketed to me as a young adult novel; it reads like an adult novel, and so I'm concerned my ideas about it are going to cross one line or the other, since the two are often entirely different animals. Thankfully, it's a decent book as both, though a little on the adult side for being a YA read.
Simon Clark has a good sense of the dramatic, and the book is paced and plotted well. Granted, postapocalyptic lit is fast becoming its own subgenre, and it's not too hard to plot these days (a reading of The Stand, a reading of Swan Song, and a screening of The Omega Man, and you're pretty much set; elements of all three show up here, of course). His characters are for the most part solid and well-built, with a few cardboard-esque exceptions. The main reason, I'm guessing, this was thought to be a YA novel is the Nick Aten's narrative voice, which is naïve; too much so at times. (One wonders why that's still considered a YA trait, given the popularity of the romance genre.)
Readable, fast-paced, and worthwhile for horror fans. *** ½