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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Flame Alphabet: A Novel

The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus is one of those books that hooked me right from the start with its incredible earnestness.

A disease is affecting adults, causing them to wither away into unrecognizable lumps of their former selves. It's only when it becomes too late that scientists can pinpoint the cause--it's the sound of childrens' speech that breaks down the immune systems. After it becomes too much, Sam and Claire must run from their own daughter, Esther, who has become a nightmare in and of herself.

I just dove right into this book head first. There was no other way to do it. Marcus has such an incredible rhythm to his prose that it is difficult to step away from the ocean of his words. He tells this story so thoroughly and intensely that putting the book down becomes a difficult experience. I was so intrigued by the premise and I was so taken with Sam and Claire as characters that coming to despise their daughter was inevitable. I wanted to push Sam forward as he searches for a cure or even just an answer so that I could rest assured that all would once again be right with the world.

This book took me three checkouts from the library to finally read, and it was well worth the effort. The intensity of Marcus's story and the care he puts in his characters makes you a part of this mad, mad world.

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