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Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef

(Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1)

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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  342 ratings  ·  57 reviews
New Cover edition here

It’s not unusual to work two jobs in this day and age, but sorcerer and former triad soldier Rupert Wong’s life is more complicated than most. By day, he makes human hors d’oeuvres for a dynasty of ghouls; by night, he pushes pencils for the Ten Chinese Hells. Of course, it never seems to be enough to buy him a new car—or his restless, flesh-eatin
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Kindle Edition, 95 pages
Published October 23rd 2015 by Abaddon Books
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Start your review of Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1)
K.J. Charles
Okay, so either you want to read a book called this or you don't.

A fabulous and entirely gross horror comedy set in Malaysia (and Hell). It's spectacularly icky and kind of oddly sweet and moving, and the use of Malaysian and Chinese mythology is glorious. A wonderfully different-from-the-old-routine fantasy read and yet one more reminder that we need diverse books because (among many other reasons) it's more fun and you read better stuff that way.

Thoroughly recommended unless you're easily gr
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Michael Hicks
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cassandra Khaw takes us into the magical underbelly of Kuala Lumpur in Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef as part of Abaddon Books Gods and Monsters series. Picture Jet Tila (a Thai chef Food Network fans should recognize) with magical know-how, acting as ambassador for the Ten Chinese Hells in between his culinary duties for a family of mobster ghouls.

Our introduction to Wong finds him tasked with locating the murderer of the Dragon King's daughter. Heady stuff, to be sure, and one that finds Wong cal
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Colin Sinclair
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is glorious. For something so short it certainly crams in a lot of ingredients: gods, monsters, down-at-heel ex-mob chefs, gluttons, gourmands, angry ghosts, colonialism, assimilation, ancient vs modern, a bustling cityscape both bright & wild and grimy-drab...

It's got everything and all of it is mixed to perfection to produce a noirish yet numinous tale of one strangely compelling not-exactly-hero caught in the midst of a grand parade of terrifying grotesques.

Cassandra Khaw brings incredib
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AprilMarch
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Brazilian, it's cool to see an author on the other side of the world who's also writing urban fantasy about their country's awesome, distinctively non-European mythology.

Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef has ghostly demon babies trying to unionize on page one and the trick to cooking for Muslim ghûls on page two, so I was hooked from the get-go. Sadly, this gets thrown out shortly afterward as a Dragon King flies into the page and essentially announces himself to be the plot. What follows is an ex
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Stephanie Embry
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Unpopular opinion time:

I think CK is a fantastic writer of one liners and descriptions. She weaves details that keep me glued to the page.

Buuut i have the same problem here I had with her Lovecraft PI story - there's just something off about the pace. The characters all accept their fates too easily, everything cruises along with very little consideration. I get that it's a novella, and there is a lot packed into the story. I feel like it should have been a book, and in trying to make it shorter
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Elena Linville
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a very interesting world, very different from the usial Greco Roman or Norse mythology most urban fantasies rely on. I loved it! It's new and bewildering in a slightly horrifying way.

I am not sure I like Rupert Wong as much as I liked the worldbuilding though. He seemed rather incompetent for most of the story, bumbling along like a drunk baboon. Hopefully, he gets better in future books.

I also felt rather confused which entities he worked for. Seems like the King of Hell is his ultimate
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Jim
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Khaw is a genius!!! everything about this tale is exquisite... Rupert is supremely developed in every aspect of what a character should be... the story is epically funny and menacing (great internal dialogues and bloody acts of whatever abound)... much to love about the twists and turns of The Old Ones... plenty of detailed references, cultural and mythological and mythical and social and criminal... hard to describe Khaw's use of words and phrases in general since it seems so effortless, and he ...more
Anton Prosser
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Chaotic fun, with a lot of dead things!
Beth Cato
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, urban

This novella is a fast read due to word length and its frenetic pace. From the first page, you know it's dark, too--cannibalism jokes are aplenty, and Khaw introduces many disturbing/fascinating creatures not usually depicted in English-language fantasy. That, along with the setting of Kuala Lumpur, add to the fresh and unique feel, though at time I felt a little lost because things did push along so quickly.

I love Rupert Wong and his little asides to the reader. He's a fantastic urban fantasy p
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caleb.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, horror
Damn. I did not expect that.

I read the sample and knew immediately that this was something that I had to read. Not only because the first scene is Rupert arguing with undead dead babies about unionizing themselves but because of the writing>. It's thick and visceral and gross. I just ... needed to read it.

And I mean that in the best way. I absolutely loved how disgusting this book was. If reading about decomposition, bones, slurping, organs and egg yolks being compared to pustules then you mig
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Justus
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Rupert Wong is a pretty standard urban fantasy novella -- snarky narrator who talks too much for his own good and gets entangled with the seedy underbelly of criminals and power-brokers but human and magical. But it adds a some vibrancy to well-trod ground simply by being set in Kuala Lumpur and using Malaysian mythos-creatures instead of typical European vampires and werewolves.

Unfortunately the vibrancy of a non-Anglo POV can only carry things so far on its own. The story is bit of a disappoin
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Terry O'Carroll
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating urban-fantasy-slash-horror-slash-mystery novel set in Malaysia where native Malay and the introduced Islamic and Chinese cultures meet and mix. All of the gods and monsters of each of these pantheons are real. Rupert Wong is stuck in the middle of the whole supernatural cultural collision, trying to keep the peace as part of his penance for his past sins. He wants to stay out of Diyu, the Chinese Hell. He also wants to keep his undead vengeful-spirit girlfriend happy, feed her blood- ...more
Bkwyrm
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Either this seems like a good premise for a book to you, or it doesn't. If it doesn't, out the book down, you're not going to enjoy it.
I LOVED IT. I read a lot. Especially a lot of fantasy and I'm tired of formulas. No formula here. Rupert isn't a good guy. He's just.....maybe less bad. The lesser of a whole lot of evils. The setting is, to me (white American woman), totally alien. The manners are different, the rules are different, it's just about as far from boring supernatural formulaic hero
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thefourthvine
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, horror
Okay, so, the title tells you everything you need to know. This is comic horror, and there will be a very high gross-out factor. (Although the title is a slight misnomer: there’s not actually a ton of cannibalism. Rupert cooks people for non-human entitites to eat, and non-human entitites occasionally eat him, but there’s not a lot of human-eating-human action, which was nice for me.) The worldbuilding is wonderful, the character is fun and morally — well. Dark gray? The humor is solid, even if ...more
Rene Sears
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, but it took me a little while to read it, because I do a lot of my pleasure reading over lunch, and I had to stop a few times! Khaw writes really effective horror, and I guess I'm squeamish. :)

Rupert is not a good guy. It's right there in the title. He cooks people. Various gods and ghouls have a claim on him, and generally he appeases them by cooking for them, with all that entails. But every once in a while, he does try to do the right thing, or at least look out f
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Alex
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Three reasons to read this book:

a. Ms. Khaw has a deep fondness for words. She relishes them. She flings them around with a wild, fierce abandon. This sort of style is not for everyone. For example, Hemingway would not approve. But he was a mean drunk, so to hell with him. Tim Powers probably would approve. So would Charles Stross.

b. Ms. Khaw writes out of the legendarium of the Chinese diaspora in Malaysia. Her creatures can't be shoehorned into the usual categories. Isn't it enough with vampir
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Nenad Vukusic
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cassandra Khaw has a way with words. She strings them up like beads of pearl, creating tactile, olfactory, all kinds of delicious situations, spiced with the magic of the far east, most of which I only touched when watching "Big Trouble In Little China" - ah, now it dawned on me. Maybe the appeal of this book is a complete lack of knowledge about all of the Chinese hells, and names of demons that sound so strange, and magical to my (mostly eastern) European mind. Anyhow - Rupert made me chuckle ...more
Robbie
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a tad over 3.5 stars for me in my late 30's but probably would have been 5 when I was in high school. That's not to say that it's a YA novel, but that my tastes have changed a lot since then. I think the problem with it for me was that I just didn't like the titular character that much. The world he moved in was fascinating and I loved the richness of his interactions with the various gods and monsters and whatnot. The humor just wasn't what I'm into these days and there was a lot more s ...more
Steve
Based on the title, I thought this would just be a quirky horror fantasy. And it was, but it was also an unexpectedly charming comedy that worked SE Asian folklore into an urban modern noir-type detective story of an average Joe--who does surprisingly little cannibal chef work in the book--who has to keep his head above water when he's caught between two rival factions of deities. I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if it didn't end short with a setup for the sequel. But that said, I will be be findi ...more
Will Caskey
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun, lurid dive into supernatural horror

If a hard boiled style tale about a guy who literally cooks people for his demon employers is your jam, this book will delight you. There are ghouls! Dragons! Gods of every sort! And beneath it all a mash smoky ethnic religious conflicts that flash in and out of focus.

A few of the secondary characters are surprising to the point of confusing, presumably in the service of setting up a serial. All told a fun ride through SFF horror.
Tetyana
Rupert Wong is a chef for a family of cannibalistic ghouls in contemporary Kuala Lumpur. A dragon conscripts him to solve a murder-mystery. Shenanigans ensue.

To say I’ve enjoyed this one is to say nothing. Cassandra Khaw expertly combines horror, Malaysian and Chinese mythology, and noir, with a generous helping of absolutely delectable gore on top. It’s also hilarious.

If you’re on a lookout for some inventive genre-fiction, I’d definitely check it out.
Megan Hex
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly fun, breakneck-paced adventure through Malaysian and Chinese (and, why the heck not, Greek) mythology, with a hapless mortal protagonist who's just trying to cook up a few tourists for his boss and keep his ghoul girlfriend happy. I'm absolutely going to read more from this series and author!
David
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has some great world building! Love the unfamiliar pantheon and the lush descriptions of deities.

Unfortunately, it also has paper thin characters, a muddled plot, and no sense of pacing. I was generally left in a confused state, even when the characters were trying to explain the plot to me. It's a kaleidoscope. Pretty facets, but not that impressive when taken as a whole.
Marianne
Ruper Wong, Cannibal Chef was an interesting read. I enjoyed reading a fantasy novel inspired by Malaysian mythology and set in Kuala Lumpur. Admittedly, I did have to look up words and phrases, but I think the author's world building was very strong. I wasn't entirely sure on all of the details of the story itself (and, to be honest, its ending), but it kept my interest.
Eujean2
I found this book to be fun, but I think it suffered from me trying to read it while I had a head cold. I really like the pantheon if gods & I looked up a lot of references. (Which I think is fun.) I also liked the playfulness of the narrative voice. Unfortunately I felt a bit lost each time I picked up the book. I would read more books by this author & even another book in this series. ...more
Quick Sip Reviews
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Regular Sips - Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef by Cassandra Khaw

Okay, so October might have been an incredibly full one for short fiction, but I couldn't resist when I was asked to look at this new novella. Cooking! Urban Fantasy! Gruesome Deaths! There are few things in this world that will entice me more, and as this is a novella it didn't exactly break the bank time-wise. It is the longest single story I've reviewed on this site, but I've been meaning to read more novellas and this was a great pla
...more
Noarev
Jul 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Standard modern fantasy detective with standard modern fantasy detective bad decisions. A decent read when you're on a plane with time to spare. There were some world-building elements that were intriguing, but not enough to lure me in for seconds.
Tim Childree
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Phenomenally, chillingly funny

What would you do for love or life? What would you do to save your soul from the hells? If you're Rupert Wong, the answer is a tremendous romp through the seedy underbelly of the city.

Dark, eldritch, and hilarious. You'll love it!
Monique
I'm not entirely sure how to categorize this book. It was fun, it was concise, it was gory, it was strangely educational, and almost nothing went where I expected it to. I rather enjoyed it, and I look forward to reading more!
Alice
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Not for the squeamish. A man who works for ghouls should know better than to mess with gods, but then, he really doesn't have a choice. The dragon king wants him to find out why the Greek Furies killed his daughter.
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Cassandra Khaw is a senior scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Her next novella NOTHING BUT BLACKENED TEETH is a haunted house story where messy people make really bad decisions.

Other books in the series

Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong (4 books)
  • Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #2)
  • Food of the Gods (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1-2)
  • The Last Supper Before Ragnarok (Gods & Monsters: Rupert Wong, #3)

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