Monday, September 23, 2019

Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep
The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry
Publication Date: July 32rd, 2019
Hardcover. 459 pages

About The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep:

"For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can't quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob -- a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life -- hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life's duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world... and for once, it isn't Charley's doing. 

There's someone else who shares his powers. It's up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality."

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep was one of the biggest and best surprises of the year for me. I feel like this book has sort of flown under the radar and it really shouldn't. I first discovered it a few months back before its release knew I would have to check it out, not realizing just how much I would end up falling in love with this story and its characters. One description on Goodreads call it "the ultimate book-lover's fantasy" and honestly, it really is!

This is a story about Rob and Charley Sutherland, two brothers who have been hiding a rather...unique ability that only they and their parents know about. I've read a number of different books that contain ideas such as this in which characters from books come to life or people can enter book worlds and the like, but I especially loved how Parry developed that idea in this book. Charley's exploration of his abilities was so fascinating to me and I loved the seemingly limitless options that are explored and found plausible as he learns more and more about his powers.

I felt strongly connected to both Charley and Rob in the best ways and it genuinely seemed like I had things in common with both of them, which of course made me feel that much more connected to them. Rob Sutherland is your average man: he's working successfully as a lawyer, he has a new home with his fiance, and he's constantly on alert for when his brother needs him to help wrangle a character back into a book--which, okay, might not be the most 'average' part of his existence. Rob is an incredibly endearing character and his near-constant exasperation with his brother and those around him made his inner dialogue truly enjoyable. Charley is just as endearing as his brother Rob, though in very different ways. He's much meeker and more insecure than Rob despite his obvious genius in the literary world and he has such a distinct and somehow adorable personality about him that I couldn't help but love him. (For those that have read Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer, he reminds me a bit of Lazlo Strange in how you just want to wrap him up and keep him safe from everything.)

I loved all of the different classic characters that pop into the story, from Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles (yes, the actual animal) to Dorian Grey to Mr. Darcy. I felt that Parry was exceptionally creative in bringing the characters back to life in ways that both fit their characters and allowed them to become more developed into realistic characters that are interacting in a modern world with new people around them. The really neat part about how the characters coming to life works is that each character is influenced by the reader's interpretation of them, so if I pictured, say, a melancholy Sherlock Holmes, then that that mood will permeate the Sherlock Holmes that I bring to life. It's a really unique and interesting take that made it even more fun to explore the new characters.

This book was both fun and serious at the same time. The tone maintained a somewhat quirky and humorous note to it for the entirety of the story, but there were certainly deeper moments of reflection and heavier conversations and themes that grabbed me unexpectedly and made me think a lot. I marked so many passages and lines with my note tabs, half because they made me laugh and half because they felt special and stood out as something important to me.

Overall, I've given The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep five stars! I absolutely loved this book and had a blast with it. If you love books about books, endearing and quirky characters, and a unique "magic system" and storyline, then definitely pick this one up.

*I received a copy of The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep courtesy of the publisher, Orbit, in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the novel.*


  1. I agree, I have not heard a whole lot about this book, and now I wish I had requested it. I'll have to make sure I read it at some point😁

  2. I hadn't heard of this one before! But I love the idea of our favorite characters coming to life - sounds like the perfect book for book lovers!