Title: My Boyfriend’s Back
Author: Elliot Cooper
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 126 Pages
At a Glance: My Boyfriend’s Back is a horrifying and deeply disturbing zombie thriller, while at the same time, a heart-pounding love story that is—for lack of a better word—simply adorable.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: After losing both of his parents, Academy of Magecraft student Steven Durant doesn’t want to see anyone else lose a loved one before their time. Traditional resurrection methods, however, only create mindless, flesh-hungry zombies; they’re no cure for death. He’s certain his unique brand of necromancy—using alchemy and blood magic—is the only answer.
When his boyfriend, Dax Everhart, has a fatal accident, Steven sees no choice but to use his experimental Lazarus Elixir. Dax comes back wrong, but the more humans he consumes, the more human he becomes.
With the help of his best friends, his ghostly aunt, and her living doll homunculus, Steven fights to regain normalcy and repair his shattered relationship with Dax. But with Dax openly embracing his monstrous nature, Steven shoulders the guilt of assisting in a murder spree that could lead the mundane and magical police right to their door.
Review: I’m not certain what I was expecting when I scanned the blurb for this book—perhaps something similar to the movie Warm Bodies, but gayer? I dunno. What I do know is My Boyfriend’s Back completely exceeded my expectations. It managed to be a deeply disturbing thriller, while at the same time, a heart-pounding love story that was—for lack of a better word—simply adorable. The genius of this piece was getting me from one extreme emotion to the next without giving me whiplash. Wow, what a ride.
Our point of view character, Steven, is an interesting choice in protagonist. He’s a student of the magical arts—a potions major of sorts—and is consumed by his work. Because he’s so busy with his experiments, he doesn’t give his boyfriend, Dax, the time of day—until Dax has a fatal accident down a staircase, and Steven is struck with the brilliant idea of turning him into a zombie, thus following in his family’s deeply perturbing legacy of necromancy.
Steven is a piece of work. Who the hell thinks about their finals project as their boyfriend is dying? Did he at least try to perform CPR or something? Or call the authorities? Or, I dunno, lay there and cry for a bit? No. No, he didn’t. He just kinda looked at Dax and was like, “Yup, he’s dead. I guess I’ll make him a zombie”. Who does that? Who are these people?
That’s a question I asked myself about twenty times while reading this book, and all things considered, I wasn’t disappointed in the answer. Steven was simply fascinating, and I’m going to throw the idea out there that he wasn’t the ultimate protagonist of the novel. In any case, he was a great choice in viewpoint character, and it was highly entertaining to witness these experiences from his perspective. Entertaining, but also really troubling.
Well, Steven comes to regret bringing his boyfriend back (duh), and, of course, Dax doesn’t come back as a normal zombie. He’s kinda brain dead at first, but then he becomes lucid enough to actually attend school again. Good news, right? What started as a horrible, horrible mistake was actually looking good, and I had a glimmer of hope for Steven and his motivations.
Alas, Dax doesn’t seem to have any emotional connection to his past, except the memories he made with Steven (who he still adores), so he becomes a dangerously clever, impulsive, and remorseless killer who delights in raw human flesh. Well, damn.
This leaves Steven in between a rock and a hard place (of his own doing), and his responses to the raised stakes explore some truly great and terrible aspects of human nature. Even if we assume Dax was the victim of circumstance and was a stand-up guy before his fatal accident, it becomes pretty clear Steven wasn’t that swell of a guy. At all. Call it a family flaw? I dunno. I mean, I love antiheroes but I’m not so sure we could call Steven that. Again, this book gets pretty dark.
Despite that darkness and Steven shattering the world around them, Dax and Steven kinda start to fall in love with each other all over again. Go figure. And it’s actually kinda sweet and romantic. Go figure.
I was expecting a Bonnie and Clyde trainwreck of epic proportions, and I’m not going to lie, this book is a wild ride, but I think you’ll be happy with the destination.
You can buy My Boyfriend’s Back here: