The Man Who Married Death
by Amy Langevin
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Pub Date 25 Oct 2017 | Archive Date 28 Jul 2020
Zylen LaRocque, a twenty-eight-year-old depressive, arranges to be taken by Death, but his suicide fails, and he ends up proposing to the supernatural entity instead. Death accepts Zylen’s heart and takes up partial residence in his being, which allows Death to affect the tangible realm at whim. Manipulated like a puppet, Zylen becomes entangled in Death’s countless affairs and finds himself continuously washing blood off his hands as his life, and everyone in it, descends into a whirlwind of mania and slaughter.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
This was.... interesting. I had to double check that it wasn't poetry. It read like it which definitely turned me off. But as soon as I began to think of it as more of the ramblings of a mad man, I began reading more. This book is super dark.
When browsing NetGalley for a book to read, this one jumped out at me. The synopsis sounded like it was going to be a horror story that was right up my street. What I didn't realise, however, is that this is a collection of poetry. I think, had I known that I'd not have looked twice and moved on straight away - I am so glad that I didn't as I really had a blast reading The Man who Married Death, but I have been at a bit of a loss on how to review it. Poetry isn't something that I've dabbled in so knowing how to review it accordingly was a little bit elusive, hence the time it has taken me to write up this review.
The Man who Married Death follows the story of Zylen LaRocque - a sociopathic, suicidal, young-man who tries to kill himself multiple times; I found the flow of this section of his life rather humorous akin to the Scissor Sisters song 'I can't decide.' It built up the premise of the plot nicely and led the reader down the dark rabbit hole that the rest of the book provides - when Death makes his appearance. There is a fine romantic quality to a man who has failed to kill himself so many times that he proposed to the spectre of Death.
As the plot progresses the visions given to the reader become darker. They intertwine the depravity and erotic expertly. All the while leading the reader, and Zylen, to believe that both he and Death share the same physical body. A union of both body and soul. I firmly believe that the poetic nature of this book help prop up the sinister ideas within - if this story was written in prose, I think the story would be unbalanced and come across as comical rather than the sinister offering we currently have.
I've touched already on the element of erotica in the poetry; it's deeply embedded with the darker story within The Man who married Death and comes across in a natural, if, disturbing way. The blend of horror and sex has always fascinated me and I've found that a lot of horror novels try to off-set the horror elements to their stories with sex. The Man who Married Death is no exception to this, but there is a feeling of curiosity attached to it; especially when Death takes over the thinking. Death wants a woman, despite being married to Zylen which is seen as a betrayal to the mortal. There are deeper meanings to the erotica within the poetry, giving it a justified meaning to being present. It's not sex for shock-tactics or for 'the sake of it.' For which I applaud Amy Langevin highly. Blending the two elements - horror and erotica - into a single story is often mishandled and I find it detracts from the story-telling. I am more than happy to say that this is not the case in The Man who Married Death.
The poetry has a fine quality flow to it and I found myself settling into the poetries stanzas really easily. The Man who Married Death is a page-turner and I found myself eager to find out the fate of both Zylen and Death.
Of course, anyone who believes they're married to death only ends up in one place in the mortal world; the loony bin and I found there was a romantic quality to Zylens thoughts upon being committed to such a place - while continuing on with the depraved acts that got him committed in the first place. The ending of the poetry is fitting and conclusive and builds to a nice point before dropping.
An enjoyable collection of poetry with dark elements. Not for the faint-hearted as there are disturbing, abusive scenes within. Overall a great read for those that savour horror and depravity.
this was such a great concept for a book, and I feel like the author was able to deliver on the concept. I really felt for Zylen and I enjoyed reading this book.
I started reading page one. And within 30 words, set the book down. And, when that happens, I wondered why I'd had that reaction. It looks like poetry. It doesn't have the rhythm, but it has the style. A conflict started within revolving around, "Can I read what looks like poetry?" and "Am I being an idiot for not reading something that looks like poetry?" and "Is this poetry?" and "Is this a romance novel masquerading as darkness?"
I reread the book's blurb. I confirmed that this was a single story, having noticed numbering throughout the story. The description hinted at an entangled relationship with death *might* pointing to a romance (which does nothing for me).
And after all these assumptions, I picked it up again. I read history and things dark. And then I was swept into the story. All I had to do was push aside my assumptions and enjoy the trip. The first chapter chilled me with the visually terrifying and beautiful scene in the snow.
This story is dark. The text is set off as poetic. Yet, readers should know that the journey is dark. And it's also dark. And I so thoroughly enjoyed everything about Amy Langevin's book. So, so much. In my mind, I deleted the carriage returns as I read. Oh, this was such a beautiful, wonderfully worded tale of terror. This is Poe, not Stephen King. (It's annoying to me when horror books come out appealing to Stephen King.)
I had fleeting thoughts while reading that some authors strain to make "big sounding words" fit in their books or their speech and it fails. And each time I hit a more complexly worded, imaginatively reflective sentence, I thought, "Oh, this is going to be it. This is where the author makes it sound like a pre-schooler talking about dark matter [the science topic]." Strong, big words that don't match the feel of the narrative. It never happened. Each time I had this thought, I stopped at the end of the phrase and was delighted to realize that indeed, the sentence wouldn't have worked any other way. In short, it worked nicely.
I was stunned when I read through the scene at the waterfall. I had been enjoying the metaphysical interaction between the story and me so far, but nothing prepared me for the O-S moment I had passing through this point. There is no way to give the reader a feel for what is going to happen to them when reading this, but if you enjoy this kind of dark matter, this passage will feed that hunger.
I don't know the author. I've never read anything by them. And even when I do post a review, I always try to include a negative, or maybe something that broke at some point, to highlight that I'm not a fanboy. Again, I don't know the author, and I have no horse in the race.
I recommend this to anyone who would like to avoid the jump scare and the haunted house tale, but still wants something to give them the O-S moment. I hope I've represented "The Man Who Married Death" well. And I hope you read it.
There is beauty here in this darkness.
Super creepy,super different!
Amy Langevin has written this book in a complex manner,with suspense and shocks throughout.
Recommended one time read.
As someone who has never read a book in verse before, I found this very difficult to get into but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I will mention that I found it difficult to decifer between the two main characters (they didnt have enough individuality in their voices for me to separate between) and had to read quite far into each chapter to figure out which character it was. However as I said, being my first book in verse,I found it very clever. Everything rhymed or had good quick rhythm. I especially enjoyed the short and to the point chapters which you could tell were the quick deaths in the plot. At some points in the book you had to just join the dots and fill in the blanks after a certain chapter (before the asylum) but this made the book more interactive.
Hasnt made me think twice about reading another in verse book.
My expectations when I first decided to read this book weren't met when I actually started reading the first page. Zylen LaRocque just launched into a poetic rampage, I had to tread slowly to understand what he was talking about. Honestly, if it weren't for my personal dislike of leaving books unfinished, I would have abandoned this ship. But then towards the middle, he simmered down and I can very clearly catch up with what he was rambling about, I realized that this book is very artful and affecting. It's not what I expected. It's more than what I expected it to be!
I think that's all I can really say without including spoilers.
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