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I Belong


Early Review: Wuftoom by Mary G. Thompson

Title: Wuftoom

Author: Mary G. Thompson

Genre: YA Dark Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: May 8, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages

ISBN-10: 0547637241 (HMH/Clarion Books)

ISBN-13: 978-0547637242 (HMH/Clarion Books)

Reviewed by: Emmy

Synopsis:

Everyone thinks Evan is sick . . . Everyone thinks science will find a cure. But Evan knows he is not sick; he is transforming. Evan’s metamorphosis has him confined to his bed, constantly terrified, and completely alone. Alone except for his visits from the Wuftoom, a wormlike creature that tells him he is becoming one of them.      Clinging to his humanity and desperate to help his overworked single mother, Evan makes a bargain with the Vitflies, the sworn enemies of the Wuftoom. But when the bargain becomes blackmail and the Vitflies prepare for war, whom can Evan trust? Is saving his humanity worth destroying an entire species, and the only family he has left?

Quick & Dirty: This dark fantasy is filled with depth and founded on a thought provoking premise of human will and agency in a world where two fantastical species are at war.

Opening Sentence: Evan sat on his bed with his back against the pillow.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Evan’s transformation to his Wuftoom self is painful both for him and the reader.  Thompson’s descriptions are chilling and at times nauseating, I needed about twenty pages to get used to it. Membrane is growing over Evan’s body, changing him into one of the Wuftoom, disturbing worm-like creatures. But as he’s transforming in the dark master bedroom of his home the Vitflies come and visit.

The Vitflies and Wuftoom are at war.  To bribe him, the Vitflies offer Evan an escape from his blackened room and sickened body.  They let him enter/possess the body of students at school. A school he might be able to go to if he wasn’t so sick.  Eventually, through a painful process, Evan completes his transformation.  Even though his body is like the Wuftooms, his mind manages to stay mostly human.  He clings to his memories of his human mother.  But if he wants to survive as a Wuftoom, the elders tell him he has to let go.

Evan made one mistake, one anybody could have made, and his life is ruined because of it. He goes underground with the Wuftoom and begins to train for war with his new family members. But Evan’s different from the other Wuftoom because of his human connections. So now he’s forced to choose between his new race or give in to the Vitflies blackmail and save his mother.

The writing style here is incredibly gripping. The reader is thrown into the darkness with Evan.  His pain, his metamorphosis, and his internal conflict are all close to the surface.  It’s so real, creative, and original I never once had any trouble accepting these new species of Wuftoom, Vitflies, or Higgers. Evan’s world is tragic and built with such precision that the reader feels everything closely.  My favorite character in the book is probably Olen, the old Wuftoom, who talks to Evan about his new life.

The ending was a little convenient in my opinion, but it didn’t detract from the arc of the story or its many deep themes.  The plot was gripping.  In some cases, you need a strong stomach as Evan’s metamorphosis and the world of the Wuftoom isn’t a pretty one.

As far as recommending this book, I found it a really thought-provoking read that needs a strong reader to get through.  The graphic descriptions are chilling and at times overwhelming as Evan’s world transforms into a dark fantasy that challenges everything he thought he knew about himself.  One thing Thompson does seem to glaze over is the idea of children being taken in and transformed into Wuftoom. It could be that I just missed the message under everything else that was going on, but given Evan’s behavior I doubt it.

Notable Scene:

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

“Who’s there?” Evan called softly.

Scrape, scrape, scrape.

“Are you trapped?” Evan pulled himself up. His skin groaned with the effort.

“Let…me…in.” The voice was shrill, inhuman. It made Evan’s blood freeze.

“What do you want?” he whispered.

“To talk to you, proem,” the voice said. “To make a deal. To help you if you need us.” It was not a worm speaking, that much Evan could tell.  A worm couldn’t fit in there.

The Wuftoom Series:

1. Wuftoom

FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Wuftoom.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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