Every so often, you discover a new book series that draws you into a world you were least expecting, and with the Mythvolution series, author and actor Vas Constanti has done just that. The series which currently has two books Part One Living Oolaballuh and Part Two SNAFU, take readers on a journey as we follow Vincent Russell as he discovers that his job has far reaching and unknown consequences for the entire human and animal world.
I was drawn into the idea of the books from the synopsis of Part One and there is no doubt that I was not left disappointed at all.
Vincent Russell, a young socially inept geek, thought he was working on a project to help the environment, he thought the reason for his employment was his unique invention. How wrong could he be?
Behind the doors of a country Manor house, a group of microchipped creatures with unique personalities, are monitored whilst being exposed to a mysterious elixir. A chance discovery, however, forces them into a bungled breakout that incredibly, accelerates the group’s evolution. This transformation divides the menagerie in two. One group, of psychotic, yet, show-tune loving twin terrapin leadership and deadly arachnid membership, crave revenge upon mankind. The other, guided by an incredibly intelligent rabbit cursed with peculiar issues, just wants to get along.
As everyone endeavours to survive, they unravel the unlikely mystery behind their very existence in a barmy adventure that carries them far and wide across an endangered world and into realms of improbability!
Through Vincent’s journey we meet a number of laboratory creatures who have been given personalities and the ability to speak thanks to scientific experiments and an elixir called SPAFF, and we discover that with everything there are two sides to every battle. The animals that we meet feel like the heart and soul of the novels and I definitely love Yin and Yang, the show tune loving “Terrorpins”, and Hannibal the lab monkey with a hidden dark side. In Part One Living Oolaballuh it is clear that world domination is on the cards and it becomes a case of race against time and animal pitted against animal to stop the end of the world as we all know it.
Vincent is almost dragged along by Seth (the leader of the lab animals, who happens to be a rabbit) and they must all work together to stop the enigmatic Mr White and the Terrorpins, and Freak the spider with quite the appetite. By the time Part One Living Oolaballuh has reached its conclusion it seems that the future is bleak, and that Mr White is not to be trusted.
The action through the book courses from secret Island hideaways to the heady heights of Northampton, and through Constanti’s expressive and descriptive language reading Part One Living Oolaballuh was a bit like watching a movie in your mind, and there is no doubt that these books would definitely lend themselves to a visual adaptation. There were a number of times through reading the book that I was laughing out loud which is not something that happens all that often anymore.
As I was starting Part Two SNAFU, I really did think that I knew exactly what road Constanti was going to take the reader down, however within a couple of chapters it was very clear that I was totally wrong, and there were going to be twists and turns throughout.
A prime example of this would be that Mr White was certainly not who or what I expected based on the first book, and to be honest there wasn’t a single character in the novel that didn’t go through quite the journey in Part Two SNAFU. With SNAFU, Constanti seamlessly drew in Arthurian Legend, Greek Myths and Legends, and the ideas of humanity and religion in a way that I was not expecting in a book with main characters which include a talking rabbit and a monkey with a split personality. Within the first few chapters I was unable to put SNAFU down and ended up staying up until the wee small hours to finish it, and all I could think when I was done was “I need Part 3 NOW”.
The synopsis for SNAFU tells us we are in for a bumpy road:
Vincent Russell’s world is turned upside down when he and his animal menagerie learn from an unexpected source that the only way forward, is to believe in the tales of the past! Whilst they try to unravel the mystery of Creation, long forgotten identities are exposed and bonds are forged and broken. Mother Earth’s unimaginable secrets are revealed and what was once thought impossibly magical, appears to become as real, as life itself!
And all the while, someone and someone are just trying to rule the world!
Throughout SNAFU, Constanti’s impeccable use of language and imagery continued, and this was especially apparent in the characters of Yin and Yang, who remained some of my favourite characters. I also stand by that these books would be perfect for adaptation, because who doesn’t want to see talking creatures and legends turned on their heads. What I particularly enjoyed over both books was that although there is a definite good guys versus bad guys, you couldn’t help but feel empathy for some of the “bad guys” but as the plot continues it is clear that the sides are long decided and brings in the idea of destiny and free will. Again not a plot point that I was expecting when I started reading these novels.
There is no doubt that I will be recommending these books to all my friends, and I have a feeling that they will become books that I read time and time again, and find new things every time I do so. So if you are looking for a fun and different read for your summer vacation, I suggest you head over to Amazon and grab them as soon as possible.