A poignant story of loss and rebirth.
This is another very successful book by Patrick Ness. He writes a story about Adam Thorn, who is the preacher’s disappointing gay second son, constantly told he’s never good enough and always questioned why can’t he be more like his “perfect” older brother currently studying to following in his father’s footsteps.
On the Saturday during which the book’s action takes place, Adam, crossing paths and swords with friends, employers, family and lovers, will experience revelations, attend a farewell party, and reshape his life.
This is intertwined with a story about an otherworldly Queen; who becomes entwined with the soul of a murdered girl, and moves through our reality, seeking answers and revenge, with a naked 7ft faun as her companion. Unfortunately, this part of the story will put off some readers and truth be told it didn’t work for me either. Yes, it’s written very well, switching from one storyline to the other is done well, but, it just doesn’t belong in the story. I would prefer to have two separate books telling both stories (and I would read both no problem).
Adam’s tale, the important one is a story of change, loss and moving on (which is mirrored in the other story). His ex-boyfriend, Enzo, is leaving town. And we all know that first love is hard to get over and there’s always a part of that person in your heart. His older “Perfect” brother gets a girl pregnant (out of wedlock...oh the sin, what will the neighbours say) AND Adam’s boss is a slime-ball who comes on to him and when Adam rebuts the advancement gets fired. Adam’s best friend Angela is leaving town and the World is just falling apart around him.
“Everything was so clear in books and movies. Everyone always knew their reasons. But real life was such a mess”
The book is really well written, (I’d expect nothing else from Patrick Ness) and the acknowledgement that normal life is a mess unlike movies & books makes the ending more poignant. At the end (not to give too much away) Adam starts makes his way out of the maze, and figures out how to be strong and assertive. Again, like the story of the Queen and her release of the murdered girl’s soul, Adam learns to release his anxieties and a new romance starts to blossom. His family life still isn’t resolved but with Adam’s new found strength and finding of himself the reader is left with little doubt that he will be ok.
I give this book an 8 out of 10 planets because the side story should be just taken out.
John The Captain Ryan