Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review::The Infinite Life of Emily Crane by Jaron Lee Knuth

The Infinite Life of Emily Crane by Jaron Lee Knuth

I like this book it's written well. What I had trouble with is following the development of the main character but there's an identifiable reason for this.

This book is a slow starter and comes off as a Young Adult teen angst story. Then it sort of digresses to shock fiction and then segue's into some philosophical fluff. So it's really three stories and that's where I got confused because it made it difficult to connect the three character personalities in the story.

As the story begins we have the angsty overweight possibly Plain Jane teen Emily Crane who is lucking in having had a boyfriend, but unlucky in having lost him to a car accident. She's trying to deal with that along with being an outcast in school. She also has to deal with the fact that she had just broken up with the boyfriend prior to his accident and that she witnesses other students being abused by the peers in a fashion perhaps worse than she has been abused. She does nothing about it.

This leads to disaster when the twins get tired of the abuse and go on a killing rampage and Emily is in the way and is one of the casualties. Emily dies, but that's not the end. Emily is an immortal and can't be killed so easily.

The next part of the story is a rather gruesome piece involving everything that a certain secret group of government funded people do with Emily to try and understand what makes her different. Were talking worse things than what happened with Stephen King's Firestarter - and everyone knows how that worked out for those people. Emily is trapped in a nightmare situation with no way out. Emily does get a buff body out of it but it not as funny or entertaining as Bette Midler in Ruthless People.

The last or third part is of course the escape and the people who are like Emily who come to save the day. But are these people any better than the one's who have systematically tortured her for over twenty years?

The one single troublesome detail I found was created by the very gruesome nature of the second part of this novel. What it involved is Emily's road to recovery from those long years of torture- yes at the beginning she wants to kill them all but she gets over way too quickly and I'm not sure I understood how or why she lost her anger despite recognizing the toll it was taking on someone who was becoming close to her..

To say anything more would be too much spoiling.

This story is a good tale of the transformation of Emily- not from mortal to immortal but from angsty teenager to a well rounded woman and is not a bad tale all the way around and this book gives me one of the few times I can honestly say that the end has TMI. I think as a reader the transformation of Emily was the story and that diatribe wrap-up at the end seemed a distraction.

The place in the middle with all the abuse has it's place but is overplayed and should result in a Firestarter ending. But to understand or disagree with this you are going to have to read the story. That's a good thing because it's entertaining and mostly well paced.

For once I'd have been happy to have been left hanging there as to how the rest of the story was about to pan out.

Interesting Science Fiction Fantasy read for all lovers of that Genre: contains elements of horror that make it questionable for Young Adults.

J.L. Dobias

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