A MelanieM Review: Christopher Wild by Kathe Koja


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

“All they that love not tobacco and boys are fools.”

Poet, spy, atheist, smoker, badass: Christopher Marlowe loved whom he pleased, said what he thought, wrote plays that turned London upside down (and blazed the trail that Shakespeare followed)—and was killed at 29, in what the government rushed to call a drunken tavern brawl.

But can a voice so passionate ever die?

Kathe Koja’s literary love affair with Christopher Marlowe takes her fiction across genres and in a whole new direction.

​Go wild.

Christopher Wild by Kathe Koja is a book whose writing exemplifies the phrase “too clever by half”.   Divided into sections, the first part of the tale is Christopher Marlowe’s plague ridden England, where he’s an agent during Elizabethan times, writing his plays and spouting off his views about religion. Oh and having copious amounts of dangerous sex, especially with his boy, Rufus.  All told from Marlowe’s perspective in his Elizabethan English language, dense verbiage and all.  If you are a word aficionado and a lover of Marlowe or English major, then this section and story is written with you in mind.  His poetry, his beginnings, a mystery play supposedly written at the behalf of the Secret Service and his death.  It’s all here…in excruciatingly slow, dense language.  As I read, I swear I despaired of ever getting past a certain percentage.

Part of my issue with this is that I connected more with poor Rufus than I did with Marlowe.  And yes, I’m a fan of Shakespeare.  Not that it should have anything to do with it.  It was that nothing served to connect me emotionally to Marlowe the character.  I could look at the writing intellectually and think, ‘clever, very cleverly done’ and admire the narrative style.  Yet all the while bemoaning the fact that I had to drudge through the rest of the story like so much sludge.

The language only changes moderately when Christopher lands in the future. The prose flows in much the same style, however, letting one admire the phrasing, yet still removing the reader from any emotional connections to the storyline. And again, it was so slow going that I  thought I was never, ever going to finish.  Felt like double the length.   War and Peace felt moderately short compared to this at points.

I think with Christopher Wild, it will depend on what you expect out of this story.  If you as a reader are looking for drama and emotional connections, as I was, this is definitely not the story for you.  If on the other hand, you love history, consider this an imaginative exercise in what might have happened to Christopher Marlowe and his literary works and can appreciate over 300 pages done in this style of writing, well, then, this is certainly the story for you.

I don’t know.  I’ll put this away and perhaps, try to tackle it some other time.  But for now I’m onto other lands and escapades!

Cover art is nice.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Hardcover, eBook, 310 pages
Published 2017 by Roadswell Editions
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz for Amy Aislin’s As Big As The Sky (excerpt and giveaway)



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
Length: 37,000 words
Publisher: MLR Press

Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?
Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard.

Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.

One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.


Argh! Bo kicked his closed front door. That…that man. Every five frickin’ minutes he was up in Bo’s face about something.

I’m trying to work, Bo. Can you get the dogs to stop barking? Why is the goat making weird noises?

How did your chicken get into my yard?

What’s that smell?

Fix your side of the fence.

Bo had fixed his side of the fence, damn it, so it wasn’t his fault the chicken was still getting into Sam’s yard. If anything, it was Sam’s side that needed to be fixed. But did Sam give him a chance to say his piece? Nooooo. Mr. I’m So Cool With My Muscles And Tallness And Swanky Haircut wouldn’t get off his pedestal long enough for Bo to defend himself.

Not that Bo was envious of those muscles or that tallness or that swanky haircut that was on the redder side of strawberry blond. He was perfectly fine with his own five foot seven height and his messy ‘do. Tallness was overrated anyway. And he had his own muscles. Arm muscles, anyway. The little pudge on his belly left a lot to be desired.

Stupid cookies.

But whatever. Arm muscles were all he needed to catch a guy’s attention at the clubs and bars. By the time the guy realized Bo wasn’t so muscly all over, they were already in each other’s pants and that little detail no longer mattered.

Bring on the cookies.

Shaking his head at himself, he headed out back to the shed and grabbed a thicker pair of gloves and some chicken feed. He inspected his side of the fence—just in case he was mistaken. Which he wasn’t, thank you very much. Grunting in satisfaction, he left his backyard via the gate and cut through the path in the hedges between his and Sam’s front yards. After unlatching the gate to Sam’s backyard, he followed the sounds of clucking chicken to a wildflower garden along the back fence. Along with some kind of leafy tree and a couple of shrubs, there were bursts of yellow, purple, and pink flowers in the garden that Bo couldn’t name to save his life.

Of course it was that chicken. The brown one with the lone white feather along its back. The instigator of the group. The one that riled up the other chickens and always seemed to find a way out of the chicken coop. The one who’d pecked Bo’s hands raw the first time Bo tried to pick him up. That’s where his new extra-thick gloves came in.

He slipped them on then scattered some chicken feed. Bait the chicken and then grab it from behind, the YouTube tutorial he’d watched a couple weeks ago had said. Bo had become somewhat of a chicken corralling expert in the past couple of weeks. A skill he never thought he’d need and didn’t know how to add to his resume without sounding like a smart-ass.

The chicken went after the food just like always. Bo gave it a minute to eat most of it, then quietly snuck up behind it, cupped his hands around its sides, and lifted.

The angry squawk the chicken let out pierced Bo’s eardrums and its legs worked as if trying to walk on air. Bo held on tighter as the bird struggled in his grip. He made tracks for the gate, where Sam was oh-so-helpfully holding it open. The sight of him standing there all tall and perfect jolted Bo and had him fumbling the chicken. A wing got loose and flapped in Bo’s face.

Bo thought he heard a chuckle, but when he looked at Sam around the feathers in his face, the man was as stony as ever. Was that a hint of laughter in Sam’s eyes? No. The man didn’t know how to laugh. Drawing his shoulders back, head high, Bo stalked past him and—

“Don’t forget to fix your fence,” Sam said.

Before Bo even had a chance to reply, the gate slammed at his back.

Author Bio

Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, Amy’s interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking.


Amy loves connecting with readers! You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter or sign up for her infrequent newsletter at www.amyaislin.com/signup