Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: The Resurrectionist

Title: The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black
Author: E.B. Hudspeth
Category/Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology

See it at Goodreads

Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?

The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from a childhood spent exhuming corpses through his medical training, his travels with carnivals, and the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts—dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus—all rendered in meticulously detailed anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.

This is going to be one of the shorter reviews I've written because I don't have too much to say about the title. It's hard to rate. It's hard to review. One one hand, I liked it. The illustrations are fantastic and the interest is certainly there. And that's where I had most of my attention at. The second half.

I'd expected a bit more from the first half--which is a bit of a short biography--and I didn't get it. It was so dry and boring...and at one point more graphic than I liked. I guess I expected more of a short story, rather than a dull biography. So much telling and not enough showing (but there was quite a deal of graphic details about animal experiments--creepy and icky). It really is like picking up two different books in one once you flip to the back half between the biography and the hand-drawn artwork.

And the artwork in the second half is what makes the book worth picking up and having a look. It's amazing.

I can see how fans of Frankenstein would be interested in checking out this title.

I was provided a copy from Quirk Books in exchange for my honest review.


1 comment:

  1. I have yet to start reading this but looking forward to it. Will keep your comments in mind.
    It's hard to read a book when it lags in the beginning.


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