Century, out now
Baxter may have saved the world – but does anyone care? It doesn’t seem that way. He’ll just have to do it all over again!
Charlie Human’s second novel to feature South African student Baxter Zevcenko is as ambitious, ludicrous, laugh out loud funny and twisted as its predecessor. Human keeps the audience’s sympathy with this incredibly annoying character and takes us on a journey along with him (accompanied by what has to be the world’s first funk band representation of psychological archetypes) which starts with some black humour and becomes ever darker.
The back cover admits the links between Hexpoort, the magical school to which Baxter is sent, and a certain creation of J.K. Rowling’s; even if you haven’t read the Rowling opus or seen the films, they’ve permeated so much into popular culture that you will get most of the jokes – and see some of them coming. Human doesn’t just extract quantities of urine from the set-up, he then adds in a Platoon element!
Once the nature of the threat that Baxter is facing becomes clearer, the story becomes more linear – albeit with the odd excursion into the deeper recesses of his psyche – and we meet up with some old friends from the first book. The relationship between Baxter and Jackson Ronin deepens (and there are some cynical insights into addiction along the way) leading to a final battle that reveals there’s much more to come!
If you’ve always had a desire to find out how squirrels deal with faeries who get in their way (it involves long sticks), or how to build a bond between human and extremely unpleasant Draken (that involves mayhem), then this is definitely the book for you. If you enjoy dark twisted urban fantasy, you won’t want to miss it.
Verdict: A triumphant return to the dark side of South Africa. 8/10