Monday 2 January 2012

Review: The Beast by Barry Hutchison (Invisible Fiends)

Kyle is having trouble with the neighbours. They’ve turned into black-eyed, flesh-eating zombies. Now would be a good time to leave town but out there, on the snow covered streets, something far worse is lurking.

There is a beast in the shadows and the only way for Kyle to fight it is to use his powers. But every time Kyle uses them, he weakens the barrier between this world, and the terrifying, world of the Darkest Corners. If the barrier breaks there will be more killers on the streets.

I feel I must offer my apologies in advance for the brevity of this review. However, there is a very good reason for its relative shortness: to write as much as I normally do would create spoiler after spoiler as in The Beast a number of our Invisible Fiends questions are answered, and there are also a handful of "What the.....?" moments that you really will not see coming. If I had read a review where these were revealed to me in advance I would have been livid! In the words of Lord Melchett the plot of The Beast "twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing" and I am sure that you will need to be picking your jaw off the ground at least once during the story.

The Beast is possibly Barry's least scary Invisible Fiends book to date. However, this isn't saying much considering how pants-wettingly terrifying the first four books in the series have been and there are still more than enough nail-biting scenes to keep you balancing precariously on the edge of your seat. This time around the nasties that kyle finds himself up against are zombies, or Barry's own take on the ever-popular monster at least. I have likened each of the books in the series so far to a genre of horror film, and this one is most definitely a tribute to zombie movies, even if Barry does stray from the traditional by making his zombies super-fast moving. I had a brief Twitter chat with Barry about this, and I know he shares my opinion that zombies should be slow moving. As such he instead christens then Screechers (as a result of the noise they make), and as it is their fast speed is fully justified. 

This is the penultimate book in the series and Barry uses it to treat us to a number of huge revelations, answering some of the questions that have been bouncing around in my brain ever since I first read Mr Mumbles. However, not ever loose end is tied off, and there is more to come in the final instalment, The Darkest Corners, scheduled for release in August of this year. This means that we are left on something of a cliffhanger at the end of The Beast, but Barry can be completely forgiven for this as I am sure he is setting us up for a truly epic finale to the story (no pressure Barry!). I for one can't wait to read it, although as I mentioned in yesterday's post there will be a certain degree of sadness that there will be no more Invisible Fiends books to look forward to again. This is definitely one of my favourite series of books for the 9+ age group of the past few years, if not of all time.

The Beast is scheduled to be released on 5th January, but it is already appearing in a number of stores, both online and in the high street. My thanks go to the lovely Rosi at HarperCollins for sending me a copy.


  1. I can't wait to read The Beast! I'm a huge fan of Barry and his books. Even if we have no more Invisible Fiends books to look forward to after August, I'm sure Barry has plenty of brilliant books up his sleeve.

  2. Indeed he does. I have been fortunate enough to have read his new book The 13th Horseman. It is a comedy fantasy story and I thought it was brilliant.