Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
“Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.
There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.
Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.
Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.
But it’s not.
Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds”
Andrew Smith is an author I know but didn’t really read his books until later. Right now a lot of people in the YA book community are raving about him thanks to Winger and recently, Grasshopper Jungle. I’m actually really curious to read those two. Even though there were a few things I didn’t like about this book, writing wise, it’s real but a little repetitive in this novel, I think Andrew is pretty darn good writer when it’s come to plot and characters.
The Marbury Lens seems to have mixed ratings, a lot of people of hate it and there’s a small amount that love it. I’m assuming that a lot of those fans probably read the book when they were younger, when The Marbury Lens was actually released, which was 4 years ago. I missed out on it, I’m 18 but lately the YA category is kind of not interesting to me anymore, of course there are some exceptions though.
When I first picked up this book, I was actually pretty scared, there are some things in this book that I honestly never thought would actually be in a YA novel. I’m pretty sure there are more graphic and explicit YA novels other than this one, but this one is the most graphic one that I can remember. The violence doesn’t really bother me though, it adds to the darkness of the novel, but there are some things that I didn’t really like.
The Marbury Lens consists of two young adults named Jack and Conner. Jack lives in a pretty dysfunctional family and Conner lives a fairly normal life. So judging by this, you’re gonna know that Jack, the main character, is going to be the sulky, depressed, sensitive but stubborn, loyal, and well, a pretty sad guy. Jack is a bit introverted and shy and well Conner, he’s the sex crazed, party boy. After the traumatic event of Freddie Horvath, Jack’s mental state takes a toll and you can’t help but feel bad for the guy, you want to give him a big hug, but Jack doesn’t cry, so he’s not going to cry into your shoulder.
But back to what I dislike, what I don’t like about this novel, and it’s really the only thing. I understand that guys curse a lot but dang, so many f-bombs, it started to get ridiculous, like a tired joke. What would I sound like if I wrote like that? FUCK THIS, FUCK THAT, FUCK, FUCK BOOKS, FUCK TEXTBOOKS, FUCK WORDS, WORDS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, BOOKS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, COMPUTERS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK. Another thing that bothered me was that he kept repeating the same thought over and over again. I understand that it’s pretty realistic and that’s what people do when they lose their minds. Like here’s another silly thing: I LIKE INTERNET, INTERNET, INTERNET. THE INTERNET DESTROYED MY BRAIN, BRAIN, BRAIN.
Okay it’s out of my system, I will admit that I don’t curse in real life very often, seriously I don’t.
The Marbury World is pretty interesting and frightening. There’s dead people everywhere, it’s a post-apocolyptic world, with humans affected by a disease that apparently made them lose their humanity. So Jack, Griffin, and Ben are the survivors of the world, and Conner is one of the humans affected by the disease. So for most of the book the trio travel through the world and run away or fight off Harvesters or the Devils (Conner is one of them). The world feels really empty though, but that’s what you would expected in a world that has just ended. There’s a lot of grit and grime in this novel, a lot of guts, sweat, puke, blood, and human gore.
My little theory about this book is that Marbury is another world where everyone’s fear has occured, where death and disease is prominent. Maybe Marbury is the world of the future, where humanity had finally diminished. I also feel like those purple glasses are way of escape for those who are troubled, despite the dark world on the other side. People escape darkness just to be filled with more, but Marbury is apparently not real, so it is way for people to desperately escape reality.
The Marbury Lens kind of has mixed feeling in me too, I liked it but some of the writing style annoyed me. I loved it but I got annoyed by it. I love the plot, it’s suspenseful and absorbing, hard to put down. Although, I hate to say it, but I think Conner is kind of annoying, I wouldn’t want him as a friend. The female characters are practically wooden boards for the boy’s entertainment. Despite all of this, it was an okay read, I think I want to read the sequel though.