My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Earlier this week, I read the first book in this series, Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef, and dug the heck out of it, enough to give it the full five-stars. Now here I am, giving the second book the five-star treatment and digging it even more than the first book.
Right from the outset, Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth, got its hooks into me with a fantastic opening. Cassandra Khaw kicks things into high-gear with a cannibalistic Iron Chef-styled competition, which I flat-out loved. From there, Rupert finds himself on the run and relocated from his native Kuala Lumpur to London, where he's pressed into service for the pantheon of Greek gods.
As with the prior entry, there's a good dose of noir-mystery musings layered in among the urban fantasy backdrop, complete with betrayals, double-crosses, and reversals. Wong, despite largely being a coward, proves to have some steel in his spine and is a fun anti-hero with wit and craftiness, and more brains than he lets on.
With her second book in this series, Khaw seizes the opportunity to expand on the terrific world-building from the prior entry and shakes things up nicely with this crazy fish out of water play. Khaw is a hell of a creative writer, to boot, crafting wonderful visuals alongside big-budget action scenes. She's definitely an author to watch out for, and with this, the third book of hers I've read, she's made my must-read list.
My favorite part, though, are the foodie aspects. Yeah, the gore is lovely and fun and all, but when you're reading culinary horror, you have some particular dark cravings to be satisfied, and Khaw nails that here. There's some good discussion of food and drink, of both the cannibal, mystic variety and the more mundane - both of which are highly welcome.
But that ending? Oh, ang moh, you must suffer the cliff-hanger tease for Book 3. Time to binge eat away the anxiety of waiting!
[Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, Abaddon Books.]
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