by Kathe Koja

Not for the weak of heart. It took me nearly a third of the book to get, um, hooked by this most unusual novel, but once in, I could not pull myself away. The story is told in the viewpoint of Tess, a sculpture in metals whose creations are too outside the norm for even the avante-gard gallaries. Enter Bibi, a "guerilla" dancer who connects with Tess and they form the nucleus of "The Surgeons", a "dance" troupe involving amplified metal twistings, blood, and a new form of sculpture that moves in inhuman ways, sculptures that cut and grind. Tess soon grows bored with performing and Bibi is drawn deeper and deeper into the realm of piercings, ritual cuttings, and self mutiliation, trying to subject her body to her will.

The writing style is dark, chaotic, and bloody, like the contents of the book. The sentences are not always linear and I found it best to skim over the sentence and get impression, which is how it was probably meant to be read. I would liken it to Clive Barker but without all the unnecessary religion bashing. I suppose it would be classified as a horror book but there are no Stephen King monsters, except the ones Tess creates from the scrap heap, and, of course, the characters themselves. Overall, frighteningly original and disturbing, so much so that I feel somewhat ashamed only giving 3 gristles. If this book sticks in my mental craw for as long as I think it will, I'll come back and give it a 4.