I frequently start books and don’t finish them. I also rarely read fiction, but when I do, I tend to like apocalyptic stories of destruction and the transformational effect that it has on characters. As soon as I started reading The Turning, I was hooked.
The story follows a couple, Ricardo and Linda, as they struggle to survive amidst an apocalyptic scenario where humans appear to be randomly transforming into bloodthirsty monsters, known as demons. This is a novel twist on the ever-present zombie theme that has dominated this genre of storytelling in recent years. And fortunately it’s explained in a satisfying way which raises as many questions as it answers, thankfully avoiding the cliched “this is a virus” cliche.
It’s written in a dated diary-like style with 36 easily digestible chapters which made the book feel much shorter than the 233 pages that it actually is. The quick pacing of this book is surely what contributed to me completing the book in just two sittings.
As you’d expect, The Turning can be brutal and graphic, and satisfyingly so. But it’s also heart breaking and touching, and the entire book carries an introspective, reflective tone. It’s about demons hunting humans like prey, but it’s actually about much more. When you read it you will understand – I was pleasantly surprised by the literary sophistication of a book about demons.
The characters in this book are fantastic and complete the spectrum of human compassion and depravity, from the Machiavellian Monsieur de Shawn to the altruistic monster named Pod.
“It was inexplicable why some turned and others didn’t. The devout speculated it was a curse, God’s wrath against humanity. He spared the righteous while the unrighteous turned. Though the authorities resisted the name, the day was called the Passover.”
“The Passover freed us from the trappings of morality, of the idiotic dichotomy of right and wrong, justice and injustice. It allowed us to gauge the grey, to explore who we are, not how we ought to be. The truth is that we are all beasts. The demons are an evolution of who we are.”
“We must embrace the purity of our true being, which society has suppressed and caged and suffocated.” “The truth,” the Monsieur began, “is that nature does not care what we do or how we live. All that matters is who’s on top, and who’s on bottom of the food chain.”
As another reviewer on Amazon already noted, I noticed a few typos in The Turning. However, as they were neither numerous nor distracting, they didn’t affect my experience reading the book.
If you’re a fan of popular zombie fiction like The Walking Dead, my guess is that you will enjoy this. It sidesteps many cliched conventions of the genre and replaces them with fresh literary devices.
Amazon link: The Turning