Review: Grape City

Grape City is kind of like A Clockwork Orange.  They’re both set in stylish dystopias filled with dehumanizing ultraviolence, and they both use a lot of cool weird wordplay.  They’re also both named after fruits.

But while A Clockwork Orange is a tale of raw energy, Grape City is told from a perspective of quiet desperation.  You see, humankind has become so violent and depraved that Hell had to close.  People everywhere are horror-banging and slam-raping, cannibalism is chic, and you’re lucky if you can find anyone who can at least pretend to be sane.

So when Hell closed, the demons were sent up to earth as refugees, only to learn that humans’ violence is far worse than the pure evil of Hell.  Charles is our guide through this world.  As a demon living in this screwed up world, he’s sad, pissed-off, lonely, desperate, vulnerable, and utterly humiliated.  Charles makes it by with only the tiniest of comforts.  Grape City has a few flaws, but Kevin Donihe has created a really great character in Charles.  This book should be read even if it’s just to watch Charles make his way through this ultraviolent world.

The ending is a little awkward and rushed.  It didn’t seem to fit the rest of the story, but I think that’s forgivable.  I feel like this book was a kind of catharsis for Donihe.  The story basically follows Charles on a few exploits in this world and we get to see his desperate attempts to find a place in it.  Everyone can relate to that.  Now imagine that sort of universal struggle set in a culture so unintelligent and needlessly violent that it makes a guy with Hellraiser pins in his face wince.  That’s what you’ll get here.


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