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The Ninth Life of Louis Drax - review
Title: The Ninth Life of Louis Drax
Author: Liz Jensen
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Buy it: On Amazon
Louis Drax is an accident prone child with the ability to survive the impossible. When a family picnic for his birthday ends with Louis dead after falling from a cliff, and with his dad on the run, an investigation is launched to find out whether this was just another accident... or something more sinister. However, Louis is busy defying the laws of science. Miraculously returning from the dead and struggling to make sense of all the mixed information in his battered brain, Louis falls into his Ninth Life: a coma. He has all the evidence the police need to figure out his case. He just needs to find a way to release it from his comatose body...
The Ninth Life of Louis Drax was a gripping mystery with some very dark undertones.
Chapters were written from the alternate points of view of Louis himself, and his coma ward doctor, Dr Dannachet. I found Louis' chapters to be brilliantly written - disturbing enough to keep you just on the edge of trusting his narrative, but emotional enough to keep you wanting to believe the best in him!
Dannochet's chapters were extremely compelling too - and full of interesting insights into coma care. He was an instantly likeable character, despite his flaws, but I found it a little hard to believe in the instant attraction he felt towards Louis' mother. Still, I found him to be very human, a natural optimist, even with life trying to beat him down.
The book has very slight supernatural themes, but I found they slipped easily into the story line and didn't feel out of place. They weren't so ridiculous that they ruined the story - in fact, they were so well placed I found myself wondering whether the events may actually be possible, in certain circumstances!
The progression of the story was really well paced and kept me guessing the whole way through. The ending was sad but in a way satisfying. No loose ends! Woohoo!
I have to admit I wasn't expecting Louis Drax to be the kind of book it was. I was expecting a YA dark supernatural thriller, and what I got was a quite disturbing, very adult novel about a boy in very difficult circumstances. A very good novel, no doubt, but just one I wasn't expecting.
I also found the lack of speech punctuation quite hard to follow. I had to stop to re-read a few paragraphs to work out what was said and what was thought!
The Ninth Life of Louis Drax is a brilliantly written mystery that has roots in some very serious issues. I've not detailed the issues in my review as I feel some of them would end up as spoilers but you should be aware that there are uncomfortable moments. That said, it was wholly enjoyable, neatly tied up and had a nice dose of "the impossible" that also had you wondering whether it really was so "impossible" after all ;)
Emma is a designer living in Bristol, UK. A self-confessed stationery addict, book lover and TV sci-fi geek, she enjoys sketching zombie-eyed women and finding her next source of inspiration in the pages on the bookshelf.