The Silent End by Samuel Sattin

The Silent End was a book I instantly warmed to. The story is told using the first person narrative style (which I have always loved when done well) and the way the story unfolded, complemented as it was by real and likeable characters, left me one very contented reader.

Young adult fiction is not my read of choice because it often leaves an older reader like myself feeling slightly ostracised. But when it is written this well, and in such an engaging way, it can be a lot of fun, allowing the older reader to remember a potent time in their life while offering the target audience a parallel for their current lives. I liked that the kids in this book are capable of provoking empathy from any age group. When teenage years, and everything that is both wonderful and terrible about them, are reproduced well it is a joy to read.

The chemistry between the 3 young leads was strong, the narrative voice is that of Eberstark, an overweight and ordinary kid with a messed-up family life. His best friends area Gus, the intelligent overachiever and Lexi, the rebellious and ever so slightly disturbed teenage girl. The kids are around fifteen years of age and I liked the way in which their dialogue accurately reflected this, something many young-adult novels do not do. We all remember how profanity is a knowledge that is constantly researched and improved through practice, how ridiculing each other is acceptable and normal behaviour between friends, we remember how teenage friends talk around the really serious issues, especially problems at home. I found the teenagers in The Silent Land amongst the most realistic I’ve encountered for some time.

I encountered a large dose of nostalgia whilst reading The Silent End, being reminded of the Spielberg films I loved when younger: The Goonies and E.T. in particular, and I also felt the same emotions as when I read Stephen King novels, which was something I welcomed with open arms. Finally, there was a Lovecraftian aura, merged with a little of The Fog which, when all pieced together left me in a very good reading place, very comfortable with the story, the characters and the written story.

The tension builds well with the author in no hurry to disclose exactly what is so wrong with the town of Mossglow (this is Lovecraftion/King element I liked). Sattin builds the characters nicely, presenting back-stories to help understand who they are and what has made them. I liked that the lead character was overweight, something a little out of the norm.

If I had a reservation in recommending this book it would be the ending and the build up to it, which went just a little bit too ‘out there’ for me, and I thought the great build up didn’t quite finish with the denouement it deserved. But then I thought the ending of Stephen King’s IT, one of my favourite books, was disappointing so maybe I just expect too much.

This slight reservation aside I would still happily recommend The Silent End to readers of around age fifteen and upwards who enjoy fun, realistic characters and an element of horror in their reading. I look forward to reading more by Sattin in the future.

8/10 The Silent End was a book I instantly warmed to.

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