I must admit I’ve not read that many horror books, I mostly stick to fantasy and autobiography books. I’d heard of James Herbert and I’d also heard that The Rats was a pretty damn good read. There’s a second hand shop in the town I live in which is made up of small units and people chuck their stuff into the unit and you can pick up and buy anything at the main till. A few days ago I saw loads of James Herbert books there I decided to buy them, for the three Rats books it was £2.50p well worth a buy.
This book clocks in at a very low 187 pages but don’t let that put you off it’s crammed with great and horrible scenes. Herbert does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters very quickly especially the main character Harris, a teacher who first hears about rats attacking people from one of his pupils and then in the news. Little does he realise he’ll soon be plonked right into the middle of the battle against the giant rats, I always enjoy a story with an unlikely hero, a normal bloke come good and Harris more than fits that description.
The best thing Herbert does in this book is giving every character a background even ones that don’t stick around that long, he writes to make us understand the feelings and type of person each character is even if their purpose is to only see out one chapter. We meet several people especially early on who are given a rich background of how they’ve come to be in their current situation, some make it and some don’t making every chapter exciting reading.
Throughout the book London is plagued with attacks from giant rats who seem much more intelligent than normal rats. The attacks build up and up as the rats get more daring through the book until the climatic battle at the end and we find out the origin of the rats, which I won’t spoil for people who haven’t read the book.
There’s some truly horrific things that happen in this book and Herbert’s writing describes them perfectly and in terrifying detail. This is a fast paced story and won’t take you long to fly through, I highly recommend it to anyone especially if you don’t like rats! There’s also two sequels both longer than this first book, I’ve bought them both so over the next few weeks will be reviewing both for this blog.
If you’ve never read this and see it for a pound or a dollar somewhere second hand then do yourself a favour and buy it! Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts either in the comments or on Twitter @ABsHorrorShow
Overall Rating – 8.5/10