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Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson
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Immortal Lycanthropes

by Hal Johnson

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Myron Horowitz is an especially ugly kid. He was found wandering a country road looking more like hamburger than an 8 year old. Multiple surgeries to repair his face saved his life at the cost of horrified and averted looks from strangers. In addition to being disfigured, Myron stopped growing after the accident and is now an unusually small 13 year old and a favorite target of bullies. But when one particularly brutal bully picks on him in the school cafeteria something happens that leaves his attacker a bleeding mess hanging in a wire-reinforced window and Myron unconscious and naked on the floor. And the unusual nature of this incident draws the attention of people who understand what Myron really is - an immortal lycanthrope. And while some want to help him or use him for their own ends, others just want to kill him.

By now we should all know were-wolves are also called lycanthropes, but "lycanthrope" can refer to more animal/human shape-shifters than just wolves. So, a were-bear, a were-lion, or even a were-moose or a were-mouse is also a lycanthrope. And in this story there is one for each mammal species and they're immortal - sort of. Yeah, yeah, I know - this sounds like another dumb ripoff of the recent paranormal trend in teen books since Twilight, and this one suffers from an especially uncreative title.

I picked it up in a moment of weakness. I needed a bit of escapist fantasy that didn't take too much effort to read and that was hopefully *fun*, as well. I ignored a dumb title and a jacket blurb that indicated this might be a bloody gore-fest aimed at teenagers, but in spite of the dust-jacket promise of "rivers of blood" the violence was remarkably restrained. There are a few mild profanities and a couple of juvenile comments of a sexual nature, but fortunately that was all. And I ended up reading it all in a Saturday afternoon and evening and found it... kind of entertaining. It's not a great book, mind you - the ending is a little abrupt and the narration is too smart-alecky. Plus, it reminded me a little too unpleasantly of I Am Number Four, with its heavy emphasis on a plot-driven action story and a little mystery mixed in - but it was actually kind of fun to read. Myron is a sympathetic and even interesting character, and the mystery kept me reading. Like I said, it's not a "great" book but it was an escapist diversion and kind of fun, and I guess that's what I was looking for. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
Myron Horowitz is an especially ugly kid. He was found wandering a country road looking more like hamburger than an 8 year old. Multiple surgeries to repair his face saved his life at the cost of horrified and averted looks from strangers. In addition to being disfigured, Myron stopped growing after the accident and is now an unusually small 13 year old and a favorite target of bullies. But when one particularly brutal bully picks on him in the school cafeteria something happens that leaves his attacker a bleeding mess hanging in a wire-reinforced window and Myron unconscious and naked on the floor. And the unusual nature of this incident draws the attention of people who understand what Myron really is - an immortal lycanthrope. And while some want to help him or use him for their own ends, others just want to kill him.

By now we should all know were-wolves are also called lycanthropes, but "lycanthrope" can refer to more animal/human shape-shifters than just wolves. So, a were-bear, a were-lion, or even a were-moose or a were-mouse is also a lycanthrope. And in this story there is one for each mammal species and they're immortal - sort of. Yeah, yeah, I know - this sounds like another dumb ripoff of the recent paranormal trend in teen books since Twilight, and this one suffers from an especially uncreative title.

I picked it up in a moment of weakness. I needed a bit of escapist fantasy that didn't take too much effort to read and that was hopefully *fun*, as well. I ignored a dumb title and a jacket blurb that indicated this might be a bloody gore-fest aimed at teenagers, but in spite of the dust-jacket promise of "rivers of blood" the violence was remarkably restrained. There are a few mild profanities and a couple of juvenile comments of a sexual nature, but fortunately that was all. And I ended up reading it all in a Saturday afternoon and evening and found it... kind of entertaining. It's not a great book, mind you - the ending is a little abrupt and the narration is too smart-alecky. Plus, it reminded me a little too unpleasantly of I Am Number Four, with its heavy emphasis on a plot-driven action story and a little mystery mixed in - but it was actually kind of fun to read. Myron is a sympathetic and even interesting character, and the mystery kept me reading. Like I said, it's not a "great" book but it was an escapist diversion and kind of fun, and I guess that's what I was looking for. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
Myron Horowitz is an especially ugly kid. He was found wandering a country road looking more like hamburger than an 8 year old. Multiple surgeries to repair his face saved his life at the cost of horrified and averted looks from strangers. In addition to being disfigured, Myron stopped growing after the accident and is now an unusually small 13 year old and a favorite target of bullies. But when one particularly brutal bully picks on him in the school cafeteria something happens that leaves his attacker a bleeding mess hanging in a wire-reinforced window and Myron unconscious and naked on the floor. And the unusual nature of this incident draws the attention of people who understand what Myron really is - an immortal lycanthrope. And while some want to help him or use him for their own ends, others just want to kill him.

By now we should all know were-wolves are also called lycanthropes, but "lycanthrope" can refer to more animal/human shape-shifters than just wolves. So, a were-bear, a were-lion, or even a were-moose or a were-mouse is also a lycanthrope. And in this story there is one for each mammal species and they're immortal - sort of. Yeah, yeah, I know - this sounds like another dumb ripoff of the recent paranormal trend in teen books since Twilight, and this one suffers from an especially uncreative title.

I picked it up in a moment of weakness. I needed a bit of escapist fantasy that didn't take too much effort to read and that was hopefully *fun*, as well. I ignored a dumb title and a jacket blurb that indicated this might be a bloody gore-fest aimed at teenagers, but in spite of the dust-jacket promise of "rivers of blood" the violence was remarkably restrained. There are a few mild profanities and a couple of juvenile comments of a sexual nature, but fortunately that was all. And I ended up reading it all in a Saturday afternoon and evening and found it... kind of entertaining. It's not a great book, mind you - the ending is a little abrupt and the narration is too smart-alecky. Plus, it reminded me a little too unpleasantly of I Am Number Four, with its heavy emphasis on a plot-driven action story and a little mystery mixed in - but it was actually kind of fun to read. Myron is a sympathetic and even interesting character, and the mystery kept me reading. Like I said, it's not a "great" book but it was an escapist diversion and kind of fun, and I guess that's what I was looking for. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
This is a copy of my review posted on www.underagraysky.com

If you take Roald Dahl's James & the Giant Peach, Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, and Dan Brown's DaVinci Code and combine them all together into one book, then you'll have an idea of what Immortal Lycanthropes is like to read. It was a definite wild ride. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this book (well, maybe The Night Circus, but I didn't really like that book).

Amazon has Immortal Lycanthropes listed for ages 12 and up. I personally think that is a little young for this book. My son will be turning 12 next month, I wouldn't be comfortable letting him or his friends read it because of a few words used in the story. Totally not a big deal but I just really think ages 14 and up would be more appropriate. There are many characters in this book and so many settings. We cross the country with the main character, Myron, as he simultaneously tries to discover his past, figure out what type of animal he turns into, and avoid those who want to kill or use him.

The author, Hal Johnson, does a great job creating a magical alternative world right smack in the middle of the real world. Immortal Lycanthropes is not a book of warm fuzzy were-animals who romp around having fun with their "magic". It is gritty and real. "Real" in the sense that immortality is not always a gift in some ways it can be a curse.

I think what I appreciated the most out of this book was the ending. It was a surprise and I was very happy with it. I also appreciate the fact that this is a stand alone book, not just the lead in to a new series.

I'd also like to say thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and netgally.com for giving me a digital copy of Immortal Lycanthropes to read in exchange for my impartial review.
( )
  jsamaha | Mar 14, 2014 |
I really wanted to like this book. It starts out well, our hero is terribly disadvantaged but brave and persisten, and manages to engage yiur interest. However, the world into which he falls seems to be full of random mostly violent protagonists, all isolated from one another. Throughout the story our young man shows admirable grit, but the events that afflict him also seem random and I was struggling to maintain my interest. It certainly contains some intersting ideas, but didn't fulfil its initial promise. ( )
  Matt_B | Mar 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
When I was twelve years old, my brain was blown clear out of my skull and into an erratic orbit by a Daniel Pinkwater novel called Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars. If I wanted to have the same effect on a bright 12 year old proto-mutant today, I might just hand her or him a copy of Immortal Lyncathropes. For the win.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Sep 6, 2012)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547751966, Hardcover)

"A shameful fact about humanity is that some people can be so ugly that no one will be friends with them. It is shameful that humans can be so cruel, and it is shameful that humans can be so ugly."

So begins the incredible story of Myron Horowitz, a disfigured thirteen-year-old just trying to fit in at his Pennsylvania school. When a fight with a bully leaves him unconscious and naked in the wreckage of the cafeteria, Myron discovers that he is an immortal lycanthrope—a were-mammal who can transform from human to animal. He also discovers that there are others like him, and many of them want Myron dead. “People will turn into animals,” says the razor-witted narrator of this tour-de-force, “and here come ancient secrets and rivers of blood.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:36 -0400)

Horribly disfigured thirteen-year-old Myron Horowitz discovers that he is the first immortal lycanthrope, a were-mammal, born since time began, that can switch from a human to an animal.

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