cover image The Last Book You’ll Ever Read

The Last Book You’ll Ever Read

Cullen Bunn and Leila Leiz. Vault, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-63849-108-8

Reading is bad for the health in this grabby if uneven metafictional horror story from writer Bunn (the Harrow County series) and artist Leiz (the M.O.M. series). Olivia Kade’s book Satyr, a treatise predicting the fall of civilization as “people are becoming more feral,” is so convincing that its readers revert to an id-driven primal state, indulging in sex and murder in bookstores before rampaging in the streets. Attacks by deranged fans with demonic strength and blood-red eyes shouting things like “the Wilding wants your blood!” put a crimp on Olivia’s book tour, so she hires a bodyguard, Connor Wilson, first warning him not to read her book. Pursued by crazed mobs, Midsommar-esque cults that view Olivia as a prophet, and ever more out-there threats, the two try to figure out whether Olvia’s book is causing human society and reality itself to unravel, or if she foresaw an unfolding apocalypse. The plot barrels from one set piece to the next, seldom slowing down to develop the concept or characters past their effectively but simply sketched outlines. Leiz draws gruesome gore and intense fight scenes, but her thickly inked art could benefit from more depth of sinister atmosphere. The abrupt ending is likely to leave readers unsatisfied. There are smart ideas and disturbing scares in this book, but too often they aren’t given room to unfold. Agent: Charlie Olson, Inkwell Management (for Cullen Bunn) (Sept.)