Book review: Necroscope by Brian Lumley
My dad has been trying to convince me to read Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series for a long time. Like, a LONG time. So I finally made a deal with him: I’ll read one book a month of the thirteen book series until I’ve finished. This marks the beginning of a continuing series of my reviews for the series.
Of course, if you haven’t read this series, my reviews will contain SPOILERS.
This book was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. I was sucked in by the prologue and the first chapter, but then struggled to keep reading for about 200 pages, and then I was sucked in again as it got closer to the end of the novel. It was strange, but I do want to keep reading the series, so that’s something.
Necroscope tells the story of our two key characters: Harry Keogh, Necroscope (one who can speak to the dead) and Boris Dragosoni, Necromancer (one who steals information from the recently deceased in a seriously gross ritual that made me shudder more than once). A lot of the novel was spent giving a lot of useless background information, in my opinion. I understand that this is a 13 book series, so Lumley had A LOT of space to fill, but I was bored with it and even though there was so much information, I still feel like I didn’t get to know Harry at all. Most of the scenes from when we first meet him were actually told from other people’s perspectives, so we aren’t actually getting to know Harry. I think we missed a lot. The character development, especially of our main character, was seriously lacking. I couldn’t picture what he looked like AT ALL, which was strange, because I could picture EXACLTY what Dragosani looked like. I suppose this makes sense when you consider what I’m about to tell you.
Then there’s the end of the novel: [SPOILER] the Harry we’ve spent the novel reading about isn’t even the Harry in the rest of the series. Sort of. I don’t really know what the heck is happening. Okay, let me explain. People who can do strange things are called ESPers; in Russia (where Dragosani lives) and in the UK (where Harry lives) there are two ESP branches that monitor the country and its ESPers (through telepaths and a bunch of other cool people). At the beginning of the novel, Alec Kyle, who is the successor to the head of the British ESP branch as the former head recently died, is talking to what appears to be a ghost. The ghost is the one telling the whole story to Kyle. We figure out throughout the novel that the ghost is Harry. Yep, our main character DIES. Then, at the end of the novel, ghost Harry goes to be born as HIS OWN SON. Um, what? This novel is trippy, you guys.
Let me talk about my favorite part of the novel: Boris Dragosani. Dude, he’s scary. When we begin the novel, Dragosani (can I just say that this is a perfectly creepy, vampire name) is working for the head of the Russian ESP branch. He regularly visits his home country, where he talks to “the Thing in the ground,” a centuries old vampire named Thibor Ferenczy. Thibor is actually the person (?) who gave Dragosani his power to tear secrets from dead corpses. Dragosani spends the novel trying to get Thibor to tell him the secrets of the Whampyri, but Thibor isn’t going to give them up that easy. Eventually Thibor infects Dragosani with a vampire (a drop of some gross liquid finds its way onto Dragosani’s neck – through a weird worm-like creature that makes it way out of the ground). Dragosani changes rapidly: his face elongates and he grows fangs. Lumley is incredible with physical descriptions, and I could see Dragosani quite vividly. And he scares the crap out of me.
At the end of the novel, Harry figures out how to travel on the Mobius continuum (it pretty much just happens out of nowhere) and now he can travel in a moment anywhere he wants in the world. He goes to the Russian ESP branch and, after a huge battle in which Harry raises up some of the dead, he injures Dragosani and sends him into the continuum. From there, Dragosani goes back to the moment in which he killed Thibor Ferenczy, and finds himself inside Thibor. He ends up killing himself. Over and over and over. Again, this book is crazy.
I don’t know how I really feel about this book. There were parts I REALLY liked (mainly any scene with Dragosani) and things I didn’t like (Harry). I can tell why this series is so popular though. This IS horror. This IS a classic vampire novel. Lumley’s vampire mythology is unique and intriguing, and even though Harry seems to just automatically know how to use the Mobius continuum, I think what Lumley will do with it in future books is going to be awesome. I know that the reason I was bored is that most books nowadays are so fast paced and that’s what we’ve come to expect. It wasn’t necessarily the case when this book was written; it was all about writing a good story. Harry’s story is indeed a good one, great even, and Lumley is a master of his craft.
Come back next month for my review of the second book in the series, Vamphyri!