*warning – contains mild spoilers*
You can learn a lot about people from their writing. Read any one of my blog posts and you will find that I am always honest, frequently sarcastic and prone to bouts of uncontrollable, slightly biased fan-girling. Every time I publish a new post I will turn my laptop off and hide for a few hours, because the thought of other people reading and analysing my material terrifies me! So when the lovely Vas Constanti, a very talented actor currently performing in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights in the West End, mentioned that he had written a book and asked me to read and review it, I was a little bit nervous. What if I didn’t enjoy it? It’s not in my nature to hold back my opinions, whatever they may be!
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. Just like my blogs betray my short temper and tendency to rant, you can tell this book was written by someone with intelligence and sensitivity to the greater issues that are currently surrounding us. I was hooked!
I tore through the novel in less than 24 hours, absorbing the messages behind the text and cursing when I reached the end. This book takes you on a journey that will make you contemplate evolution, spirituality, mythology, religion, morality… and rabbits wearing lipstick.
To give you an idea of the madness you will encounter, I’ve popped the official blurb from Amazon below (where you can also purchase the book in kindle or paperback form for a very reasonable price – I’m not even getting paid to say that!)
“Vincent Russell, a young socially inept geek, thought he was working on a project to help the environment; he thought the reason for his employment was his unique invention. How wrong could he be?
Behind the doors of a country Manor house, a group of micro chipped creatures with unique personalities are monitored whilst being exposed to a mysterious elixir. A chance discovery, however, forces them into a bungled breakout that incredibly, accelerates the group’s evolution. This transformation divides the menagerie in two. One group, of psychotic, yet, show-tune loving twin terrapin leadership and deadly arachnid membership, crave revenge upon mankind. The other, guided by an incredibly intelligent rabbit cursed with peculiar issues, just wants to get along.
As everyone endeavours to survive, they unravel the unlikely mystery behind their very existence in a barmy adventure that carries them far and wide across an endangered world and into realms of improbability!”
Intrigued yet? You should be! Within this book are a plethora of unique characters you can’t help but grow attached to. My personal favourites are a pigeon named Albert whose language chip is on the blink and a monkey named Hannibal who has something rather unusual lurking under his helmet.
My favourite thing about this novel is how thought-provoking it is. A particularly inspired conversation between a monkey and a jackhuahua (google it) about mortality and the existence of the afterlife really struck a chord with me. They discuss how, when our bodies expire, we leave behind an imprint of ourselves: “this is like your spirit, a memory, a sense of what was once there.” It’s a truly beautiful exchange between two unlikely allies, and definitely resonated with me, as I am a firm believer that the ones we love never truly leave us (thank you JK Rowling for that quote). I definitely wasn’t expecting to shed a tear reading this book, but that did it!
All throughout this book there are little pockets of contemplative writing within the story that open up questions about religion, mythology and even our relationship with the world we inhabit. I was a little afraid at the beginning that I wouldn’t understand it but after the first few chapters I realised it’s not about dissecting or understanding the book but about letting it wash over you and open you up to new thoughts and ideas. Vas manages to instigate these debates without any bias which is no mean feat, especially when it comes to discussing something as subjective as religion.
One more thing I have to mention? My god this book is funny! There are some phrases in there that will make you laugh out loud, my favourite being “I’m as knackered as a wannabe WAG traipsing around nightclubs looking for a mediocre footballer with more spots than brain cells to kiss and tell on!” There are little gems like that all the way through that stop you from getting too caught up in your own thoughts and so many puns that will make you laugh in spite of yourself. (Dolphins being awkward on porpoise? Come on!)
All in all I am so glad that I read this book. It made me laugh, cry, think, hope and fall in love with a motley menagerie that had me asking questions on subjects I rarely consider. I want to say a big thank you to Vas for introducing me to the crazy world of Mythvolution – now get cracking on the next one!