Word Nerd Review: Mortal Enemy

Word Nerd Review: Mortal Enemy by Nicholas Ryan Howard
by Trisha Quezada

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I finished Mortal Enemy about a week ago and I have to say that it’s a perfect book to release on Halloween. There’s a detailed summary about the book already posted here, so I won’t go into plot details (plus I don’t want to give anything away – I hate reviews with spoilers!).

It’s a dark and twisted fantasy novel, peppered with (depraved) humor. If I say it’s like an M. Night Shyamalan movie you’ll get the wrong idea, but there’s something about the way Howard continues to surprise the reader throughout the novel that reminds me of the plot twist in The Sixth Sense or Signs. The beginning felt a bit overwrought to me. The vocabulary a little out of place at times, like someone sat down with a thesaurus rather than letting the character’s voices dictate the words. But once a few more characters were introduced that settled down and you really got a sense of each person’s voice. The book moves back and forth from the present to the past, giving you vignettes to explain why Vant acts the way he does and they’re one of my favorite part of the story. There is an amazing moment at the very end of the book though. It made me pause, think back through all of the details of the world and the story, and marvel at how a single line can change the perspective of an entire novel. That’s the moment where the book went from good to fantastic.

I read the book digitally, but there’s also an audio version available. I’m torn about which version to recommend. The print book has amazing illustrations, so if you’re going to read it make sure you find a copy in color, but the audiobook is beautifully produced with a whole cast and music to emphasize key scenes. All in all, the production of both versions is beautiful. If you like dark dystopian fiction I’d definitely give this a shot.

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