What would make a decent-hearted person help a mad man create an abomination? This is the core question of Lee Murphy’s new novel, Ygor.
Taking the popular hunch-backed character from the Frankenstein films, Murphy weaves a story of abuse and neglect that helps answer this question. And the opening line helps sets the stage for what is to come: “The cold does not bother me the way it does most people. I believe it is because I am part animal.”
Ygor grew up believing he was not quite human. He grew used to abuse at the hands of his fellow orphans, as well as the Abbot he loved and respected. These experiences planted the seeds that led him to respect and almost blindly follow the lead of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.
And he kept following the doctor’s lead despite the obvious signs that the doctor was insane and sadistic. Ygor endures horrible abuse from the doctor and yet still keeps coming back to him. The question is, “Does Ygor have a limit?” And you’ll find the answer at the end of the book.
The novel clearly portrays Ygor has a kind-hearted simpleton who is easily swayed by words, who has low self-esteem that causes him to doubt what his heart tells him.
I enjoyed reading Ygor for the character development and the brief moments of exquisite description and emotional release. Of course, some of what created the experience of this novel for me is my own background. I have have younger sister who was born deformed and have witnessed the cruelty of others toward her and her fellow disabled friends.
There were times when I read this book that I wanted to jump in and defend Ygor. Dr. Frankenstein is portrayed in this book a real bastard, excuse my French, and worthy of your disdain, disgust and righteous anger.
That said, I really believe that this story would have been better served as a shorter novella, rather than a 324-page novel. There just was too much meandering filler. I think a lot of what filled the pages between the covers could have been left out, leaving a tighter, more intense tale.
So, I cautiously recommend this book. The characters are strong, but you’ll have to plod along quite a bit of story-telling that really doesn’t need to be there and may cause moments of boredom.
SCORE: 3 Out of 5 Palm Trees Possible