The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m Barry Hutchison’s biggest fan (well, in the Southern Hemisphere anyway).  He has a unique ability to scare me silly and make me laugh out loud in the same book.  Ever since I discovered his Invisible Fiends series I’ve gobbled them up and I’m always interested to find out what he’s working on next.  So when he started posting lines from his work in progress about the horsemen of the apocalypse on Twitter I was hooked.  The 13th Horseman has been billed as a Terry Pratchett meets Neil Gaiman type of story and full of Barry’s unique sense of humour.  It was everything I expected from this very talented writer and much, much more.

“Drake is surprised to find three Horsemen of the Apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed.  Even more surprisingly, they’re missing a Horseman and think that Drake is the boy for the job.  Drake is reluctant to join them, but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

From the wastelands of oblivion to the desolate plains of Limbo – join the Horsemen of the Apocalypse on a wild and hilarious ride…”

The 13th Horseman is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  The laughs don’t come from toilet humour, but from the actions (or inaction) of the three long serving Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  There’s Pestilence who’s dressed like a doctor with a white coat and rubber gloves (to protect the humans, not himself), the red-haired giant, War, with a temper to match his stature, and my favourite, Famine, who is absolutely huge, with massive rolls of fat all over his body (which provide great places to store food for later).  When Drake first meets them, they’ve been playing board games for thousands of years and are completely bored.  They all seem to be totally incompetent and can’t even organise themselves to do the job they’re there for – usher in the Apocalypse.  They all have a horse to ride across the sky, apart from Famine who has a mobility scooter (so that he doesn’t squash a horse).  Each of the Horsemen has their own quirks but my favourite is definitely Famine, because no matter when you look at him, he’s always eating something.  There were so many great lines throughout the book but my favourite was:

“Great,” War growled, looking up to the ceiling.  “Just great.  You’ve lost your scythe, you’ve wedged your scales where the sun don’t shine and you…” he looked Pest up and down.  “I don’t know where to start.  Some bloody Apocalypse this is going to be.”

Thankfully, The 13th Horseman is only the first book in the Afterworlds series and the sequel, The Lost Book of Everything is due out in 2013.  If you haven’t read any of Barry Hutchison’s books yet, The 13th Horseman is a good place to start.

Recommended for 11+       5 out of 5 stars

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Filed under authors, books, young adult, young adult fiction

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