[Book Review] The Boy Who Couldn’t Die by William Sleator

This should have been posted yesterday, but I was a bit busy with the con, so… yeah. XD Here ya go:

This is an old review*, though I still feel the same about it now as I did then. As always, I add my current thoughts on the title at the end of this review, so you should still check it out! 🙂

*This book was also used in a booktalk for class.


The Boy Who Couldn’t Die by William Sleator • 2005 • Harry H. Abrams • 161 pages

“Here he shifts from science fiction to horror, with a plot based on Hollywood-style voodoo lore.”

– Patty Campbell

Genre/Theme: Death, Teens, Murder, Dying, Sleep killings, Horror, Zombie, Supernatural, Paranormal,

Brief Summary: After his best friend dies in a plane crash, 16-year-old Ken Pritchard keeps thinking of a folktale about a monster that hid his soul, ensuring eternal life. Determined to avoid death himself, Ken finds a woman who removes his soul from his body. At first he is pleased; as in the folktale, he gains physical invulnerability, along with a respite from his misery. But, as readers will suspect from the many creepy details Ken willfully ignores, the rest of the folktale comes true as well.

Evaluation: 2.5 of 5 stars

1-2 things you liked:

  • The actual storyline once you get into it.
  • The premise of a boy who is afraid of death and dying, who ends up killing people in his sleep. That was the whole sinker for me wanting to read this in the first place.

1-2 things you didn’t like:

  • The ending seemed a bit too abrupt
  • The beginning pages (say the first chapter) needs a good rewrite. Some of the information in it is obviously important, but the rest is just… it doesn’t grab the reader’s attention which is the problem with this book and me.

Would you recommend this book? Ehh… I dunno. I personally couldn’t deal with it. Not because it was too gory or anything (That shit I love XD ) But because… it just… wasn’t… that good. :/

Looking Back (Current Thoughts & Eval): Alright, so this was the other book I was (re)reading while also reading The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To. As you can imagine with two books – although quite different – having such similar names was seriously confusing the hell outta me. I honestly don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to try reading them one after the other, but whatever.

This was actually an old book I had bought with every intention of reading… and never quite got into it. Back when I was in high school, the book came out, and I was really into horror books, and this seemed like the perfect fit. Then I started reading and maybe 10 or so pages in I put it down and didn’t pick it back up until 2011. That’s nearly half a decade later. And y’know what? I still couldn’t get into it. That’s really, really sad.

The premise had SO much potential. I mean, it was almost Final Destination, in a way. This kid’s his best friend dies and he is suddenly thrust with the knowledge that he’s entirely and unshakably mortal, and it terrifies him. He goes on this quest of sorts to find a way to get out of ever dying. Listen. I think we’ve all been there at some random, even-two second period in our lives when we wonder what it would be like to be immortal. Maybe even dream about it. Maybe even beg and plead to the universe for it, or at least near-invulnerability, I mean, come on! But this kid goes waaay beyond that. He does NOT want to die. EVER. He’s been freaked out that bad.

I get it. And that sounds like the PERFECT plot for a story.

Except it doesn’t work. I’m not engaged. It can’t even hold my attention long enough to get through a book LESS THAN 150 PAGES. LESS THAN. 

When you get to that point, there’s really not much else to say.

Were it not for the absolutely amazing plot, I would not have tried (and forced myself) to finished this book. But it really wasn’t worth my time.

shrug-1

 

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