Friday, August 25, 2006
The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator
The Boy Who Couldn’t Die is a novel about zombies. Books and movies concerning zombies (or other types of reanimated dead people) have always freaked me out a bit. For example…
I was fourteen the first time that I watched the horror movie classic Return of the Living Dead while spending the night with a friend and his family at their supposedly haunted house in the backwoods of Indiana. The evening began with a disturbing story from my friend’s mother about her encounter in the house with a spirit that she had nick-named “Tall Dark and Handsome.” Next came the movie with walking corpses aplenty stumbling about wailing for more brains to eat. After the movie, I spent the remainder of a long night wide awake in my sleeping bag on the floor just waiting for Tall Dark and Handsome to drop by or for a zombie to come scratching at the living room window.
Now back to The Boy Who Couldn’t die…This book is creepy and fast-paced. As the story begins, sixteen-year-old Ken is seeking the help of a woman (Cheri Buttercup) who claims to be able to make him invulnerable to pain or death. Cheri performs a ritual that separates Ken’s soul from his body. She explains that she must hide his soul away for his own safety.
At first, Ken is fascinated by his newfound immunity to pain and bodily injury. But then, the dreams come…horrific nightmares in which Ken is forced to dig up graves and violently murder strangers. With the help of Sabine, a girl he befriends while diving in the Caribbean, Ken discovers that his nightmares are real and that he has become a living zombie-slave to Cheri Buttercup. Ken and Sabine must race to find and retrieve his soul before Cheri decides to use it once again to kill.