Review: The 13th Horseman / Author: Barry Hutchinson / Publisher: / Format: Harper Collins Children's Books/ Release Date: Out Now
The 13th Horseman is very silly book, and this is a good thing.
Schoolboy Drake Finn falls into a series of comic misadventures when three of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Famine and Pestilence) turn up and declare that he is the new incarnation of Death. Even worse, this isn’t the first time the horsemen have had to recruit a new member to their apocalyptic band. Indeed, poor Drake is the tenth person to have the role thrust upon them, with surprisingly comic results.
It’s firmly aimed at children of all ages, and those new to reading will find it a delight, filled with silly gags, clever turns of phrase and a very, very daft plot. More experienced types will get exactly the same experience, though perhaps be a little surprised at some of the genuinely laugh at loud moments. (The explanation as to what happened to the other horsemen had me giggling all day). Author Barry Hutchinson is now an old hand at this sort of thing, and his style is cartoon like, and like the best cartoons, filled with slapstick fun.
The plot is equally daft, owing more to the pages of The Phoenix or The Beano than anything else. If you want a clever, subtle pastiche on the biblical apocalypse as seen through modern eyes, this isn’t the book for you (Try Good Omens instead). If you want giant robots, jokes about goldfish and exploding schools, this is for you.
Grown-ups will find it a welcome distraction, and though you will zip through fairly swiftly, you’ll find yourself laughing all the way. If you’re looking for a gift for a younger person who’s just starting to catch the reading bug, this is certainly a nice, light read that will entertain them for over a long car journey.
(Yes, it’s that funny.)