Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Westlake Soul

Westlake Soul
Westlake Soul by Rio Youers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received a free eGalley eBook ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: “All superheroes get their powers from somewhere. A radioactive spider bite. A science experiment gone awry. I got mine from a surfing accident in Tofino. The ultimate wipeout. I woke up with the most powerful mind on the planet, but a body like a wet paper bag. . . .

Meet Westlake Soul, a twenty-three-year-old former surfing champion. A loving son and brother. But if you think he’s just a regular dude, think again; Westlake is in a permanent vegetative state. He can’t move, has no response to stimuli, and can only communicate with Hub, the faithful family dog. And like all superheroes, Westlake has an archenemy: Dr. Quietus—a nightmarish embodiment of Death itself.

Westlake dreams of a normal life—of surfing and loving again. But time is running out; Dr. Quietus is getting closer, and stronger. Can Westlake use his superbrain to recover . . . to slip his enemy’s cold embrace before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: This was such a cool idea – a superhero who is basically unable to do anything. I figured the entire story would be taking place in his brain, and thought that would be pretty neat. What I didn’t expect was that it would be so incredibly funny – the scene with the gold finch? Priceless! Westlake has a bad situation, and he’s fairly bitter, but he manages to keep a humorous perspective on it. At least for the first quarter or so of the book – things get a bit more serious after that. But it is well-done and not overly morose. However, it gets into the end-of-life issue – euthanasia, to be blunt. And makes you think – are people who seem to be gone really gone? Maybe they just can’t communicate? Ever heard of locked-in syndrome? Can’t move, can’t talk, seem to be gone – but in reality, that person is completely awake, aware, and feels every indignity, hears every word spoken in his or her vicinity, understands everything. Just can’t get out. Can you imagine that? shudders

Chapter 17 was so beautiful, so sad - I read it with tears in my eyes. And 21? Wow, so heart-breaking. I didn’t know if I could keep reading, ‘cause I’m just not good with heavy emotions like that. I tend toward being depressive, so it’s not usually a good thing for me to read things that will make me sad. But I kept thinking, maybe …. maybe …. and on I went. Fortunately those chapters alternate with chapters that made me angry, about a real jerk named Wayne. Man, I was hoping he would die painfully! You’ll probably feel the same way, or maybe not. I did grow up watching violent movies, you know!

Well, I’ve given you more information about the story than I probably should have, but it was amazing, heart-breaking, breath-taking... difficult to read, but definitely worth it. Highly recommended. Book available 4/12/12 from ChiZine Publications.

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