Thursday, 1 March 2018

Carnivore by Jonathan Lyon

Book Review

Carnivore by Jonathan Lyon - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Evil is necessary to live vividly."

Carnivore was released in the UK on 24th August 2017. It is written by Jonathan Lyon and published by HQ.

Carnivore has garnered very mixed reviews, ranging from five star rambles about how amazing and daring it is, to no star rants about how it's disgusting and rambling. I thought it would be a book that I would either love or hate, but actually I'm resolutely in the middle. It is shocking and explores the psyche of a seriously damaged young man well, but after a while all the shocks and stream of consciousness narrative actually got a bit boring.


Meet Leander: lover, fighter, liar.
He learnt a long time ago that nothing is as intoxicating as blood. But whether it’s his or someone else’s doesn’t matter any more. There’s a mysterious pain in every muscle of his body – and it’s got so bad that he’ll do anything to escape it.
Up to now, it’s been his secret. But it’s hard to remain invisible when you leave a trail of destruction everywhere you go. So, when he comes to the attention of one of London’s most infamous criminals, Leander decides to put his appetite for violence to the ultimate test.
Let the villain win.

I've got to give credit to Lyon for writing in such a raw manner about chronic pain, something which he suffers from himself, which is not taken very seriously, partly because it is not well understood. It sounds, frankly, horrendous, and it's no wonder Leander is out of his mind on heroin most of the time. He also suffers from synaesthesia, he sees senses as colours which, ahem, colours the narrative in a unique way and opens up a window into a way of looking at life that not many people are aware of.

If you ignore, or just accept, some of the more disturbing sentences, there is actually some excellent and emotive writing in Carnivore, especially in the way describes his illness. There is also humour dispersed throughout the book, most of it dark, but there were times when I found myself chuckling.

"My body is like a temple in that it's ruined and has an entrance fee."

However, I found myself cringing more often than laughing; there are some seriously messed up scenes in this book, especially sexual scenes, and it's not for the squeamish. To be honest, it felt like most of it was put in there for shock and it actually took away from the story, even if it is a rambling one. Lyon goes overboard on the shocks and ultimately ends up doing the opposite and it becomes a bit boring. Reading it became exhausting.

Also, the actual story and the relationships are very fragmented and hard to follow. This is obviously a huge part of the plot, but I felt I needed a connected thread at some point just to pull me through.

My Rating: 3 Stars

I received a copy of Carnivore, via NetGalley, in return for an honest review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

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