Oliver Twisted by J.D. Sharpe (and Charles Dickens)

“Flesh,” the woe-begotten moaned at Oliver, baring teeth which were ragged and black. “Flesh” came another moan, and he turned to see two more behind. They began to shuffle towards him, barefoot. The world according to Oliver Twisted is simple. Vampyres feed on the defenceless, orphans are sacrificed to hungry gods and if a woe-begotten catches your scent it will hunt you forever. On the advice of a corpse, Oliver flees his ghastly orphan life to seek his destiny in the dark streets of old London Town, despite the perils of the woe-begotten zombie-infested journey. There he meets the shadowy Dodger, the evil old soul-stealer Fagin, and the menacing Bill Sikes, who is more beast than man. But will Oliver Twisted be the world’s salvation, or its downfall?!

I am a fan of the original Oliver Twist but it has been replaced in my affections by Oliver Twisted. If I am brutally honest the whole literary classic/horror mash-up genre was getting a little tired for me, I had enjoyed some of them but on the whole I thought it had pretty much run its course. Then I was sent a copy of Oliver Twisted, I was planning on purchasing myself a copy, but when Egmont contacted me offering a review copy I said a big YES PLEASE! (I have no shame) When it arrived I was immediately impressed by the cover and the tag line – Please Sir I want some GORE! I am (as those that know me are aware) a fan of puns, the more groan-worthy the better. Then I started reading.

Oliver Twisted is no mere mash-up! This is the Buffy-verse version of Oliver Twist! Hell has vomited up its damned souls; they now roam the earth as the woebegone – which is the best euphemism for zombies that I have ever come across.
But that is not all, there are demons, witches, were-beasts and young Oliver, born in the poorhouse under a prophecy that proclaims him as the saviour of mankind… or the tool of its eventual destruction!

Stir in a satanic conspiracy bent on the overthrow of mankind, a devious soul-eater that runs a gang of young thieves, a vicious werewolf and young Oliver who is abandoned, betrayed and alone, an innocent soul that although unwilling to do wrong is often consumed by a rage that threatens to consume him.

All is not dark and evil in this world, there are the Knights of Nostradamus, a secret organisation pledged to overturn the world order and return mankind to the light, but they are few and beset on all sides…

You do not need to have read Oliver Twist to enjoy this book but it will heighten your enjoyment to see how subtly the originals have been turned with the addition of a world overrun by supernatural phenomena.

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