Review: Hideous by Devon McCormack

Eight years ago, Luke Retter witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and sister at the hands of his demon-possessed father. He survived but lost a hand and an eye. The demon also burned its emblem into his skin, marking him as a cursed. Those who bear this mark are at risk of becoming possessed themselves, so they are monitored and enslaved by the state-run UCIS. Working as a slave is hard, but Luke prefers it to the possibility of being controlled by a demon.

One night, Luke wakes to find his worst nightmare coming true. His father's demon has returned. In a panic, he runs to the only person who might be able to help: Zack, a cursed who ran away from the state and created an underground community to protect other fugitive curseds. Zack helps him suppress the demon. But the city's become a time bomb, and Luke's demon itches to escape.

With the UCIS closing in on Zack's underground operation and Luke's demon crafting its own, nefarious plot, Luke realizes that he must take a stand.

“Being a laborer with one hand is about as useful as being a sperm donor with one nut.”
Ain't it the truth?

This is my second time reading this author. This is also the second time I am left full of questions, hopes and awe. My mind has been screwed, my face is full of snark/wonder/horror/happy. Basically, me after reading Devon McCormack.

Hideous is a gay YA story with a graphic novel feel about a sixteen year old cursed boy named Luke Retter. In this world, demons are possessing people at random, their victims (if they survive) become cursed bearing a mark. And those who are demon possessed are called infected. Demons are like parasites looking for human hosts to cause mayhem. Luke is a survivor from a brutal and horrific attack committed by his demon possessed father when he was only eight years old. He was left with physical scars (he is missing a hand and eye) and the psychological scars (he watched his family be butchered).  Luke is a cursed, wearing a demonic mark that acts like a conduit for demons.

Guillermo del Toro is one of my fave directors, he makes dark and creepy beautiful. And I am finding myself falling for this author's creepy and dark words.

Luke is one very lonely boy. Not only is he ostracized by humans (or regulars), he is shamed and brutalized by them too. Think extreme bullying where physically harming someone is okay because they are considered different. What people do out of fear is hurtful and scary. Factor in Luke's disability and it makes it worse for him. He has no friends, no family, a crappy job which is basically demeaning and slave-like and no hope. Once you're cursed, you're considered lower than scum. He works as a janitor/laborer in a exclusive rich boarding school. Luke's pain is visceral.

One day he tries to save a cursed child and his act of bravery changes his life. Don't think a golden platter is handed to Luke and a magical knight comes to save him. Sadly, no. Luke is saved by a hooded, deviant (a cursed that refuses to register with the cursed corralling government agency.) by the name of Zack meets him. And the two sort of save each other. But Zack is a teen running from the law with a good heart that Luke can't help crushing on. As well as a regular teen named Tom to make a faint crush triangle (I don't want to say love triangle) for Luke. Who does he choose? What happens? Not telling, read to find out. ;P

The other book I have read from this author, Clipped, continues to linger on my brain as will Hideous. The world building is great. At first, you're thrust into a world that takes some time to understand. It is like the author grips you by the shirt collar and pulls you to view a world from his twisted mind. And I enjoyed the ride. And the depraved, devious mind, of course. As the story progresses, the thrilling suspense kicks in. You don't know who to trust, save Luke, or what is going on with these demons.

I have burned myself out on reading YA but it is a genre that I do enjoy from time to time. While this story does a great job of portraying a teenage boy's life in a dystopian-like world, this story is not like any YA story I ever read. The filthy mouth on Luke, the gore and pain described, the brutality of the attacks, the author does not hold back. Well maybe in one area...smutsters there is no sex in this one. But this story kicks so much ass, it does not need it. This is YA any adult or teen can enjoy. I would not classify this as a romance, it is there but that is secondary to Luke's tale. The ending is HFN. (As usual I want more!)

The author's info at the end states: "The inadequate representation of gay heroes led him to creating his own." Hmm... this author has written a gay hero who is realistic. Hideous does not soften the blow, it packs a wallop of a punch. Piss, sugarcoating here. The author gives a positive gay hero in Luke. Is Luke perfect? No. But he's a great faceted main character to read about.

If this author plans to continue with this world he created, I will be there with bells on.

Highly recommended especially fans of creeptastic-fantastic such as this.

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