About the Author:
Matthew Rowe is a British author.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3 out of 5
Better Off Dead
Ramses Niblet III is a vampire slacker in an alternate London known as Londinium, in a world where supernatural beings are very much a part of society. Ramses' singular quest to prevent cats from taking over the world is interrupted when he and his allies P-Head and the immortal mummy Kenempti become caught up in the plots of werewolves, vampire princes, magi and dragons.
Rowe's abundant wit is clearly in evidence here and he seems to take singular delight in poking fun at the conceits and cliches of the genre, often 'breaking the fourth wall'.
This book was touted as a 'young adult' novel, but the frequent sexual references and coarse language seem a bit age-inappropriate for that bracket. After all, did you know what a gimp was when you were eleven?
However, my major gripe with this book is more fundamental than it's misplaced demographic. I was avidly following the madcap adventures of Ramses and company when I suddenly realised that I had no idea why they were rushing back and forth across Londinium. By page two hundred there was still no sign of a coherent plot and its not until another two hundred pages after that where we start to get an idea of what the point of all this is.
So, whilst Rowe's writing is witty and dynamic, it can't be overlooked that the vast majority of this book features the characters rushing from one place to another, not learning anything and not achieving anything particularly significant either. There are definitely some good ideas here, but the book could've benefited from some tighter plotting and about two hundred less pages.
2 out of 5
Not All Of Them About Zombies
The author was kind enough to send me a free review copy of this, his first book. It's a collection of eleven short stories from across the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres, each written with unusual insight and wit.
One thing that I greatly enjoyed with this book is the fact that the Introduction features a short breakdown of the themes and inspirations for each of the stories, giving a delightful little window into the author's mind.
Although all the stories make for interesting and/or amusing reads, a couple deserve a special mention. The first being 'The Happily Ever After', in which we see the later adventures of Little Red Riding Hood. What I enjoyed most about this story was the fact that Rowe manages to perfectly capture the tone of the old cautionary fairy tales. The other stand-out story is called 'Harry', in which a nervous man focuses all of his anxiety into the form of a werewolf which hunts him for three nights every month, but which leaves him free of fear the rest of the time.
Although there are a few disappointing elements to the book (such as the one that actually is about zombies), the biggest disappointment here is the fact that some of the stories could easily work as novels but here they end just when you're desperate to read more.
4 out of 5