I'm going to be upfront and state that I did not like this book at all. I thought there was a gem of a story in there but unfortunately it was hidden in the most unnecessarily pretentious writing I've come across in quite some time. Duncan writes as though he has just ingested a thesaurus and we end up with sentences like this:
"It was getting the primary admission, that we knew what we were, that we had both felt the peace that passeth understanding, that this, now, sex in human form, was the imperfect forerunner, the babbling prophet, mere Baptist to the coming Christ."
That was just a random sentence from a randomly opened page. They are all like this! Duncan never writes one word if he can write ten, and each sentence has so many subordinate clauses and commas that reading it becomes quite difficult at times. And I don't mind challenging writing (I like classics after all), but it seemed so unncessary in this case. Some of the metaphors Duncan uses are bizarre and there's many pages of Jacob complaining about how bored of life he is, full of overly descriptive prose.
It's frustrating as I like the general idea of taking a horror concept and making it more mainstream. It worked for Elizabeth Kostova in The Historian and Matt Haig in The Radleys and the concept here was a good one. The execution was just lacking. I didn't mind the violent sex or the strangeness of the ending but the writing was just too big of an obstacle for me to get over. Too much description and too much philosophy.
On the whole a disappointment. I don't think I've written a review as negative as this one for quite some time!
Source: Personal copy
First Published: 2011
Score: 1 out of 5