The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart - Jesse Bullington
I bought this book at full price (*gasp!*) last year at Barnes and Noble while I was waiting for a movie to start in a theater next door - I think it was Insidious, but I could be wrong.

I grabbed this book because the cover art was amazing - I would like to give credit where credit is do and say that Istvan Orosz, the cover illustration artist, is a talented person. Hey, at the very least, his cover illustration got me to pick up this book in the first place.

An important thing to consider about this book are what it contains - grave-diggers, an unapologetic cast of anti-heroes, demons, witches, metaphysical arguments and an actually shocking sex scene that is unlikely to ever leave your memory fully. If these things are of interest to you, then read on.

The book begins with the first chapter, titled "The First Blasphemy," which, I believe, sets the mood of the book straight away. It is a dark, funny, intelligent and strange book - everything that the quote by Jeff VanderMeer on the back cover of the book promises when he said, "Darkly funny, profane, erudite, bawdy, and wickedly original..."

Reading the interview that the author had included in the back of the book was an eye-opener on how the author had built this book. Bullington built the book around his desire to write something set in medieval Europe that also managed to take the romance out of grave robbing.

The Good -

This book is wild and outrageous, and reading just the first ten pages of it shows what, exactly, the reader is in for. This book certainly does not have much of a slow period between the next disgusting, shocking or hilarious thing that occurs next.

The characters are a varied bunch that add distinct flavor to the book, and every one adding something to the story of the Grossbarts as they come and leave the main story.

As someone has already mentioned, the metaphysical conversations that take place in this book are both hilarious, come completely out of left field and are smart.

The Bad -

Reading this gets a bit tedious; I began this book sometime last year and have passed over reading further into this book several times until I decided to sit down for the last few weeks and finish this book once and for all. There seems to be quite a bit of unnecessary parts in the book that stand between the Grossbarts actually doing something relevant to the plot.

All through the book I got the impression that although everything that happened was interesting, much of it was not adding up to something that felt meaningful or satisfying. By the end of the book, my fears that everything seemed to be adding up to nothing that really felt meaningful were realized, and I feel that the ending felt like it ended abruptly.

This book feels like it never really gets a proper climax; stuff happens and the Grossbart's situation and the area that they are generally in, but the whole book feels like a march to a certain location, where it quickly ends.

Final Notes -

A book that's worth reading, but with the understanding that it is a severely flawed dark piece of comedy. Yes, you can even skim through the action scenes, which actually add little to the story, and become quite tedious after the third fight scene.