Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: LUCRETIA AND THE KROONS by Victor LaValle

Title: Lucretia and the Kroons
Author: Victor LaValle
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group (July 23, 2012)
Format: eARC Novella
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Horror

Lucretia’s best friend and upstairs neighbor Sunny—a sweet pitbull of a kid, even as she struggles with a mysterious illness—has gone missing. The only way to get her back is for Lucretia to climb the rickety fire escape of their Queens tenement and crawl through the window of apartment 6D, portal to a vast shadowland of missing kids ruled by a nightmarish family of mutants whose designs on the children are unknown. Her search for Sunny takes Lucretia through a dark fantasyland where she finds lush forests growing from concrete, pigeon-winged rodents, and haunted playgrounds. Her quest ultimately forces her to confront the most frightening specter of all: losing, forever, the thing you love the most.

Lucretia and the Kroons is a dazzlingly imaginative adventure story and a moving exploration of the power of friendship and the terror of loss. This all-new novella serves as the perfect companion piece to The Devil in Silver, a thrillingly suspenseful work of literary horror that continues the story of Lucretia.

Review: A strange tale of friendship and loss, Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle is a trippy novella at times reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

Lucretia just wants her best friend Sunny at her birthday party, but Sunny has cancer and is receiving treatments too far away. A day comes when Sunny can finally come to play, but she’s disappeared, and it’s up to Lucretia, also known as Loochie, to find her. She is certain the Kroons in 6D have taken her friend, and she climbs up the fire escape to find a nightmarish world where children are lost forever. But will she be too late to save her friend and herself?

Lucretia and the Kroons is odd, quirky, and at times very touching. Lucretia is at that awkward stage between childhood and being a teenager. Her old friends seem to be growing up without her. Her actions were believable. The dialogue stands out in this novella. The relationships between the characters were a highlight of this novella. Then we came to the Kroons’ apartment, and at times, I was wondering what was in those Chinese cigarettes Loochie smoked. That section had a very Alice in Wonderland feel but not nearly as magical as what Carroll created. I found the horror lacking and forced with too many descriptions of the Kroons’ world. I have to admit I found myself skimming too much in a sagging middle. I wanted to learn more about Sunny and Loochie’s friendship, but it never really happened.

In the end, I was a bit disappointed with Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle, although I did really enjoy the beginning and end. I wished it focused more on the touching relationship and loss of friendship between Loochie and Sunny.

Three Bookworms = I liked it!