Carnivore by Jonathan Lyon
Genre: Thriller | Mystery
Length: 400 pages
Published on 2nd November 2017 by HQ
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD | Waterstones | WHSmith
Jonathan Lyon: Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
Copies received via Harper Insider #proofparty and NetGalley (oops).
‘So you liked Irvine Welsh? Read Carnivore’ Cosmopolitan
Meet Leander: lover, fighter, liar.He learnt a long time ago that nothing is as intoxicating as blood. But whether it’s his or someone else’s doesn’t matter any more. There’s a mysterious pain in every muscle of his body – and it’s got so bad that he’ll do anything to escape it.
Up to now, it’s been his secret. But it’s hard to remain invisible when you leave a trail of destruction everywhere you go. So, when he comes to the attention of one of London’s most infamous criminals, Leander decides to put his appetite for violence to the ultimate test.
Let the villain win.
I’m speechless. Honestly I am.
I loved this book even though it wasn’t easy to read.
If the synopsis of this book intrigued you I want to go ahead and give you a few CW’s because I do kinda wish it had some to have made this reading experience a bit easier.
– drug abuse
– death / murder
– violent rape
– prostitution / forced prostitution (?)
– abuse: mental and physical
– ummm probably a lot more?
Carnivore is so poetically written but at the same time very intense and brutal.
Like I said definitely not for everyone.
However it did end up being for me.
Its an understatement to say Leander is a bit of a mess. He definitely thinks he has total control of his life by manipulating and emotionally blackmailing everyone in it but its clear that isn’t so.
Its been so long since Leander wasn’t portraying a version of himself that best suited the situation that realistically its not until the very end we are provided with the chance to know him.
He is trouble and in need of help.
Living in a shelter with his “adoptive” mother by day, prostituting himself by night, and enjoying his (more than fair) share of drugs and violence in between is how he spends his days.
Until his mother gets involved with a huge crime lord and Leander finds himself in the middle of a plot he hadn’t fully realised was possible.
He finds himself faced with a planned mugging that almost kills him, a lovers spat, trying to gain control in his friendship group, the chance to become a star, and, being tortured and raped. All whilst making sure he knows where he’ll find his next hit.
I think what impressed me most about this book is that it doesn’t try and gloss over anything. It really gets into the nitty gritty and I definitely found it a bit triggering at times.
But on top of this the portrayal of chronic pain is outstanding. Leander has a lot of (internal and external) monologues filled with poetry and metaphors, a lot of which are on the topic of his hidden illness and they were really impressive.
Leander uses the violence and drug abuse as a way to cope with his illness which is why its such an integral part to his story(definitely not something I’d recommend here guys).
The book is split into parts which really helped me as I’d take a breather from it after each one as it wasn’t a book I could consume quickly. I think the book is aware of this as the last part had a much quicker pace as it raced towards its climax. Which suited this book perfectly.
The ending made me really happy too. Leander definitely has to face his consequences but in the final chapters it seems he’s ready to face reality and learn from all the devastation he’s caused and had happen to him. Though we don’t know for sure Leander changes his ways, we at least get a nice tidy ending with the possibility of him having a acceptable lifestyle with a support system that might not encourage all the danger and violence he’d grown accustomed too.
I do think that perhaps there could’ve been more answers to what happened after with a certain journalist but its only upon writing this review I realised this.
I’m pretty sure I’d read more of Lyon’s work given the chance, such an intense debut! Though I would definitely prefer TW next time.