This book is one crazy ride, if that’s not too tame a description. Drug-induced cosmic horror is probably a decent way of describing it, and boy, did this book make me feel like I was on something extremely mind-fucky and highly illegal.
Books centred around characters tripping can sometimes become a bit ‘let’s see how mental we can can go’, as each drug-fuelled vision can feel more transcendent than the last. It’s almost as though each scene needs to be upped, and can feel a little samey.
This novel did dangle perilously close to this and at times I was feeling like it was about to lose me, especially when our main dude explains, in great detail, previous trips he’s been on. The whole scene with the dragon trying to eat him and the lady drinking her own blood (I appreciate reading this sentence without having read the book may seem a little ‘what?’) did border on the long side. But saying that, once the excellent final act occurred, all was forgiven.
Let me back-up. This book reminded me of the awesome John Dies at the End by David Wong, where a mysterious drug opens up the mind to altered states of reality and, possibly, other dimensions. Drop also shares the humour of JDATE, but even though some of the jokes and situations described were ‘funny’, the subject matter prevented me from laughing too much or even smiling at times.
But that is credit to the dread that was created here. Our narrator (I didn’t catch his name) and his two friends, Hess and Jacob, are planning an evening of acid dropping. What could go wrong, eh? They’ve all done it before. Well, two of them have; Jacob is kind of naïve and a little anxious about what’s going to happen.
When they pick up the stuff, their normal dealer dude is, what’s the expression – tripping his absolute tits off. But it’s not just that, the stuff that the lads collect seems strange and almost alien in nature. Not to be deterred, they each ‘drop’ and the chaos commences.
How will the friends react to this trip? Was our protagonist right to be a little apprehensive? Will something enter their minds, or will something that has always been there hidden behind the realms of perceived normality, break through and take over their thoughts?
Of course, I’m not going to say here, but what I will mention is the superb finale where our principal ‘dropper’ discovers exactly what he is and what the world is around him. It’s deep stuff, but delivered without the pretentiousness that such subject matter could reek of. It really brings the book together and delivers a great ‘aaahhh’ moment when thinking back to previous occurrences in the story.
The hungry dragon being a case in point.
The characters presented were great and very natural. The three friends banter with each other at the beginning, before shit gets dropped, and it’s very enjoyable. Each character felt real without having to rely on convoluted backstories, which are never an enjoyable experience. I also loved the storytelling. Having a dude who’s wasted narrating the story could go one way or the other. Thankfully Kirkland managed to keep him ‘likeable’ throughout, and I was rooting for him all the way.
This book isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy hallucinogenic horror with beasts and evil from other realities, then this is one you should be opening your tiny mind to!!
Categories: book review