Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: Harrison Squared

Harrison Squared Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When he was three, Harrison Harrison lost his father and his leg in a boating accident. Or was it? Now, at age sixteen, he moves to the Massachusetts town of Dunnsmouth for his mother's latest research project. When she goes missing, Harrison quickly finds Dunnsmouth has more than its share of secrets...

Harrison Squared was a tough nut to crack for me. Aside from the missing leg, Harrison Harrison was kind of a Gary Stu. Also, I hated his implausible name. Who the hell would do that to their kid? Anyway, despite being a curmudgeon, I wound up being entertained by it.

Taking place in a safe, Pat Boone version of HP Lovecraft's world, is a fish out of water, coming of age tale that happens to include a nerfed version of the Cthulhu mythos. Harrison struggles to fit into a school of fish worshipers only to have his mother disappear. The rest is a Hard Boys mystery featuring fish people and their townie cohorts trying to open a portal and summon Urgaleth.

The writing was standard YA fare. The kids are smarter than the adults, everyone has overly clever dialogue, etc. While I knew Harrison would live, there was a sense of jeopardy at times. The ending was a little too easy but the book had series written all over it so I wasn't all that surprised. There were some Lovecraft references that I thought were hilarious. "My people do weird things with geometry," or something to that effect.

I thought the supporting cast were more interesting than Harrison. Aunt Sel, Lydia, Lub, and some of the others really livened things up. I wouldn't have minded learning more of The Scrimshander's past, however.

Although it wears its influences on its sleeve most of the time, if there had to be a young adult Cthulhu mythos tale, I'm glad it was this one. Annoyances aside, I wound up liking it. I could see it being a gateway book into deeper and darker things. Three out of five stars.

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