Hideous by Devon McCormack

Received from NetGalley for review. 

‘I’d learned a long time ago that no one comes. That I was alone. And the darkness was free to do whatever it wanted.’

It’s quite possible that I read far too deeply into this book as a great metaphor for social injustices still prevalent in our society, but that is neither here nor there. I really enjoyed this book, possible social injustice metaphor and all; it was nice to read something that followed through with its fantastic sounding synopsis and delivered a really interesting read. I wanted to love it and I did, it sucked me in and kept me wanting more, so ten points to Gryffindor (or Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, or Slytherin, whatever floats your boat, y’know) for Devon McCormack.

Hideous tells the story of Luke, lovely, lonely Luke, a cursed, someone who was marked by the demon who possessed his father and slaughtered his family, taking his hand and eye in the process. He lives his life worrying that the demon will come back for him, ashamed of how he looks and just trying to get by and be left alone by the cruel kids at the school where he works. The cursed are the lowest of the low in society, thought to be more susceptible to possession themselves and kept as slaves by the government, supposedly for their own good and the good of the general public. They’re offered some protection but are still treated like shit and Luke can barely stand to look at himself, with his eye patch and stump. Cursed who refuse to lead this life are known as deviants and are executed in public, on a stake, charming, eh? That’s where Zack comes in, an adorable and crazy haired deviant, he and Luke develop an unlikely friendship when they both help each other in difficult situations – Luke never thought he could befriend someone who put themselves at risk of possession or execution, just as Zack never thought he could stand someone who would choose (using that word very loosely) to be a slave for society.

I absolutely loved the characters of Luke and Zack and their relationship and interactions, it seemed so genuine and they were both such sweethearts and essentially really good people. Luke’s story and the things he went through really made me feel for him as I just couldn’t understand how a society could be full of such vicious, hateful people; it’s worrying how easy people are to corrupt and convince that certain people are dangerous and McCormack doesn’t hold back when describing the hardships the cursed are facing. Zack brought a further interesting element to the story as he works against the UCIS, the people fighting against cursed who have gone deviant, helping other cursed and showing Luke that the government isn’t actually all that it seems. We see some really nice character development within Luke, bearing in mind that he is only sixteen, and I really just wanted to give him a massive cuddle and kiss his mangled eye and stump – a beautiful soul is always going to win me over more than a beautiful face.

There were a few cringe-worthy moments in the book and a couple of the lines made me go what the fuck?!, but on the whole this was a brilliant story that managed to question a lot of things that are still wrong in this world. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the cursed and the many groups of people who aren’t being treated right in this world – I don’t know whether anyone else would get this from it, but I guess that’s just my own interpretation and whether McCormack did it intentionally or not, I think it worked and was well executed.

Read: June 29th-July 1st 2014

4/5 stars


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