Author: Julia Whicker
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Page Count: 304
My rating: 2 1/2 stars
About the book:
Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth.
Wonderblood is Julia Whicker’s fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA’s space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice.
When traveling marauders led by the bloodthirsty Mr. Capulatio invade her camp, a young girl named Aurora is taken captive as his bride and forced to join his band on their journey to Cape Canaveral. As war nears, she must decide if she is willing to become her captor’s queen. But then other queens emerge, some grotesque and others aggrieved, and not all are pleased with the girl’s ascent. Politics and survival are at the centre of this ravishing novel.
Wonderblood by Julia Whicker is a dystopian fantasy read set in the distant future where a disease has wiped out most of the population. Those left on Earth fight to survive as they await the return of the space shuttles at Cape Canaveral that will signal the cleansing of the planet.
I have to say this is one of those books I start out reading and then think what the heck have I gotten myself into?? Total weirdness from page one is what I got… The book starts with the talk of how everyone seems to like to behead people and what they do with those heads. But the sad thing to say I don’t blink at this but I get to where Aurora thinks she’ll survive eating the seagulls and then I get disgusted and think not the seagulls!!
So anyway now we know how I ended up with the weirdness to begin with. The story starts off pretty slowly as we wade through the decapitated victims and meet Aurora what has been with her brother’s carnival. Another carnival shows up to take the land and next we know Aurora is captured by Mr. Capulatio who is a total creeper and of course thinks he’ll be ruling the world with Aurora as his queen.
As the story went on I started thinking I wonder if the author
is from a legalized marijuana state maybe got the idea from The Walking Dead where the survivors now are constantly at battle as if getting 90%+ of the world wiped out isn’t enough. The characters in here all sort of have Negan’s kill first ask questions later attitude with the idea of spilling blood to save the world.
Then we get to learning how everyone worships at Cape Canaveral and I actually found this a really creative idea. I imagine that over the course of 500 years the idea that we once went into space before the world became ill and the disease hit would be just what some nutty person needed to create the blood obsessed world it had become.
By the time I got to the end of this one though I was back to scratching my head. The potential of the idea to me really didn’t get played out as well as I hoped that it would and after wading through all the craziness and mayhem I felt a tad disappointed with the end leaving me to rate this book at 2.5 stars.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
JULIA WHICKER received her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2006, where she won both the prestigious Capote Fellowship and the Teaching-Writing Fellowship. She’s had her poetry published in TheIowa Review, Word Riot, and The Millions, among others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A version of the first chapter of Wonderblood was published in the literary journal Unstuck.