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As pleasant a surprise as a kick in the face can be!
am 15. September 2009
When this book arrived in the mail, I had already forgotten why I'd ordered it. From the impression the cover made, I expected a simple horror story, Stephen King style, with some SciFi elements. I'm happy to say I was wrong!
Yes, this book is fast-paced and brutal, with graphic descriptions of sex and death in imaginative ways. It's the hero against the rest of the world, in an unending struggle for survival, from one enemy to the next. The protagonist is a genetically altered "monster" (that's how society views him) who only manages to stay out of jail by turning in, or, more often, killing, others of his kind. And all the time there's this sinister plot by powers too high to see or touch, which unravels over the course of the book...
But "Thirteen" is not only solid, gripping action and a simple good-cowboy-versus-evil-bandits story, but it also asks questions about what it means to be human. More specifically, what it means to be male. And while I don't subscribe to the views and opinions Morgan presents in his book, the author presents them in such a detached way, that they don't seem like his opinions either. The characters have come to life, and they have their own opinions. Morgan even sneaks in dark yet profound humor (watch out for male-pattern baldness references). The characters are not lifelike all the time, but then, who's perfect?
"Thirteen" is a gruesome book, and it is uncomfortable on many levels. I found myself protesting the violence and the neo-darwinian world view it endorses a lot of times, while i read it. Yet I remained in its grip until I finished, and I have come out of the experience with new thoughts, new ideas. What else can I ask of a book?