The Cipher by Kathe Koja
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Cipher sucks you in like the Funhole its story is set around, and when you resurface, you’re definitely not the same. It will put you in a dark place in the past, back to a time where you had to rewind videotapes . . . Having been written in the 90s, it already has the natural grunge element, but the added underground art scene really rounds out the entire vibe. Its grotesque imagery is as fascinating as it is repulsive. Koja’s writing style is unique, the pace pulls you through the entire book, kicking and screaming, like a haunted house you want to escape but you’re too afraid to turn the corner. Real writing talent causes your mood to be affected by the story, and The Cipher can definitely put you in a funk. A wet chill, the smell of body odor and stale beer, the musty hallway of a cheap apartment, all conjured within your imagination with every page turned. Every sad character and their pathetic existence just adds to the overall dankness, barely living, working and doing the bare minimum to survive, no real pleasure in life, throwing what little they had away for an oddity in a storage closet. I could neither understand their life and yet I felt as if I had been there myself, had sat on that couch bed, had watched that old CRT television. Somehow, all of this is morphed into a horrific tale of metamorphosis, both figurative and literal, a human deconstruction, a destruction of humanity, a breakdown of ethics, a story with several morals.
Horror comes in all forms, an amalgamation of what is frightening. The Cipher brings an innovative card to the genre’s table and introduces the mind to something else it should fear.
Thank you, Meerkat Press, for the copy of this book. The opinions are my own.
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Voracious reader and pusher of books.
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