Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: Creature of the Night

Creature of the Night
By Kate Thompson
Published 2009 by Roaring Brook Press

Bobby's mom moves their family to the countryside, hoping that a change of scenery will lead to a change of lifestyle. Bobby desperately wants to be back in Dublin with his mates and he soon begins to suspect something sinister about their quaint cottage. Things only get worse when he hears the sordid history of the house...

I picked this up very much on a whim recently, having never heard of it before but always willing to give a creepy little story a shot. This was a strange read for me. I felt like it really wanted to be an atmospheric supernatural read, but also a gritty contemporary novel about dealing with a complicated family life and making good choices. I'm not sure that the two parts really blended well together the whole way through. As much as this book wanted to be a creepy story featuring murmurings of fairies and other supernatural beings, I think it was actually more successful as a contemporary story of a boy dissatisfied with his life and learning what choices will make it better. It's not difficult to sympathize with Bobby - his life, as described, doesn't seem to be a picnic. It's clear that he is not making the right choices in his attempts to deal with his situation, but this makes him very easy to relate to. His anger at being moved to a new home is easy to understand and his uneasiness with the new situation also reads very truly. The book does do a decent job of setting a creepy tone, relating the strange tale of Bobby's rental house and the unusual happenings that have occurred over the years. Unfortunately, it always felt to me as if the story was trying too hard to be terrifying and never really succeeding. Then again, not much scares me, so maybe it's just me. Ultimately, I think the two stories would have worked better as separate novels. A quick read, but a bit of a let-down.

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