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.
I received a copy of The Man who Married Death via NetGalley in return for and honest review. My thanks go to NetGalley and the author, Amy Langevin for the copy of this book and for my first auto-approval
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 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 in to 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 to 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.