Published by Macmillan on August 30th 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Science Fiction
Reviewed by: Kim
Will Morgan is a creature of habit—a low-budget insurance detective who walks to and from work with the flow of one-way traffic, and for whom imagination is a thing of the distant past. When a job opportunity enters the frame in the form of the mysterious Mr. Dinsdale—curator of the ever so slightly less-than-impressive Curioddity Museum—Will reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing box of levity (the opposite of gravity). What he soon learns, however, is that there is another world out there—a world of magic we can only see by learning to un-look at things—and in this world there are people who want to close the Curioddity museum down. With the help of his eccentric new girlfriend Lucy, Will will do everything he can to deliver on his promise to help Mr. Dinsdale keep the Curioddity Museum in business.Curioddity is Paul Jenkins’ debut novel... exciting, fast-paced, and uncanny. A must-read.
CURIODDITY starts a bit slowly, like a strange roller coaster. It's a sluggish start, if well written, highlighting just how boring Wil’s life is at the beginning of the book. Luckily, we quickly nosedive into the action when it starts. I read the first thirty percent of the book in a few days, and the rest in a frenzied seventy-five minutes of madness.
Wil’s life has been a predictable, dull, and slightly mushroom-flavoured. He lives in a small, dull apartment, walks to a small, dull office, and he can barely afford either of them. Since the death of his eccentric mother, his father has smothered all imaginative thoughts and Wil has now fully embraced that he will never do anything exciting ever.
Until a Monday morning when it all changes.
Mad characters start popping into his life, as well as multiple cranial injuries.
The nonsense is fabulous in this book because it isn't just nonsense for the sake of making the world wacky: each and every little thing is sorted or important, or at least explained a little bit by the end. Readers still don't know how the box of levity or the lightning catcher work, although I imagine not even the director of the Museum of Curriodity knows that. When the nonsense really hits the fan, it all comes together beautifully.
The writing is what brought it up to a four bat book. When Wil stumbles into a bazaar, I could almost smell the pastries and spices. There a lots of humorous little jabs at modern life, and as Wil’s dull, drab life crumbles around him, the descriptions and humour get more and more fun. By the end, you don’t know what to expect and it’s fabulous.
Add to that a legitimately charming romance, a larger than life super-villain, time-traveling electronics and a wonderful sense of whimsy,and CURIODDITY is a fun scifi/fantasy romp by an author I’ll be checking up on.More Reviews: