Hey guys! This week I will be reviewing The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus!
Hardcover edition: 626 pages
Release date: October 27, 2015
My rating: 5 out of 5
“Let us begin with this: I am seventeen years old. And also this: I have been seventeen years old for over a century.” – The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch tells the story of a seventeen year old gangster who is suddenly killed one day, only to soon awaken to life, once again. After his fatal visit to Lake Michigan, he first begins his new life as part of a traveling medicine show, then taken in by a scientist obsessed with conquering death. Soon after, he fights in the trenches of WWI, runs from his past in Depression era New York, than becomes the newest beau of a famous Hollywood actress.
This book was amazing. Told from the perspective of a well-educated English boy, the author is given the ability to use beautiful and high language, to enrich the whole experience. It really adds to the experience, and makes us live more with the character.
What I loved the most about this book, was how it really felt that you were living in it. The author uses a lot of detail to really absorb you into the plot, and it feels like you are right up with Finch, in the scientist’s lab, or out in the trenches of WWI. Mr. Kraus uses real history in the book, and the added facts made everything seem even more real. While this might disturb some people during graphic scenes, it just adds to the point that Finch is, in fact, a walking corpse.
Which brings me to my next point, how this immortal boy is depicted. When most people read about immortals, they often assume that said character is often invulnerable, unable to be injured and forever regrowing skin over cuts and having their bodies adjust to new experiences in life. But Mr. Kraus’s immortal is not like that. Finch is like a walking corpse, a zombie that just happens to still have a soul. Finch has no blood, therefore he never bleeds, but he also can’t eat because he can’t digest. He also can never fix the various cuts, scraps, and bullet holes that you get from life and wars. And lastly, he can never mature, because his brain is no longer growing. But, Mr. Kraus does not leave him just like this, but also makes it so that, if in too much heat, you will (unfortunately) be able to smell the rotting flesh that surrounds Finch.
While all of these points might attract readers because of the detail, some might say that the description can be too much at times because of intimate scenes and foul language. But after all, this is all added to support the character of a seventeen year old gangster, so stuff like this should be expected. And, said intimate scenes, only happen once or twice in the 600+ page book.
I would recommend this book for mature readers who are looking for a historical fiction novel that takes a new look on the genre, and is filled with fabulous and mature language. Some readers might not be comfortable with some of the descriptions of bodily injuries that at times get pretty graphic (a fish hook hole through the neck, taximedery for his own skin, “stomach flat” (interpret that last one however you want, but I mean it in the literal way), and various other stab wounds), but it pays of, because it greatly adds to the novel.
I hope that you guys enjoyed this review! It was a great book, and one of my top reads of the year (and by that I mean 2016, not 2017). The sequel just came out last year too (and by that I mean 2016 this time), so I hope to read that one soon too.
Let me know in the comments below what book you would like me to review next! Until next time!
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”