Sometimes I get on an unintentional streak of books that all have the same theme. Lately it has been dark, twisted fairy tales. It started with Coraline, got even freakier with Through the Woods, and now we’re rounding the bases with Tell the Story To Its End. These are perfect books for October!
Simon Clark’s first book provides plenty of mystery from the get-go. Oli’s mother has dragged him far into the countryside to stay with his uncle for the summer, and Oli is NOT happy about it. He’d much rather be hanging in London with his dad, but for some reason his father didn’t come, and no one will tell him why. The adults are all acting very strange, and even the kids avoid the news when he is around. Something is going on.
To make matters weirder, there is a being in the attack. It isn’t human, and it wants something from Oli. Stories, tales. At first it seems innocent enough, but the need turns darker quickly.
I have a similar feeling with this book as I did with If I Fall, If I Die–confusion–although it’s not so angry this time. Mostly, there’s just two separate parts to this story that don’t connect at all, or have anything to do with one another…and so it just didn’t really make much sense. Like Will in If I Fall, I had a hard time finding the point and/or direction.
In “real” life, Oli’s family has a rift in it. For a good portion of the book, I was pretty certain the parents were going through a divorce, but there was a huge cloud of mystery over it. Why wouldn’t the mother just tell Oli what was going on? It was very strange.
In the attic, everything is very dark. Is this real? Is it a dream? Is it a break of consciousness or mental illness? I absolutely cannot tell. I suppose it is open to interpretation, but again, it was so vastly halved from the real life plot that there’s no strings to grasp onto.
Looking at the rest of the Goodreads reviews, this is going to be a Love It or Leave It book. Either it gets 5 stars or 2. I don’t think the writing is bad, and the characters have potential–I just think the story needs developing so the two ideas can be brought together. Two Book Dragons from me.
Netgalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Releases October 20.