Thursday, 2 January 2014

Of A Feather by Ken Goldman




I was given this book as an ARC (advanced reader copy) and at first I was really reluctant, as just how scary could a book about birds be?

Hadn’t Hitchcock kind of corned that market?

Well now! I was so tense at the end I gave myself neck ache!  

Ken Goldman is brilliant in his ability to hook you in and dribble the story at you until you are on the edge of your seat waiting for the tense finale.

I can’t wait to actually BUY this book for my collection.

Socrates Singer, the main character, has a strange introduction into the book, as the boy picked out to help in the audience participation section of a County bird show, things soon go a little off skew. 

Socrates, or Sock to his (lack of) friends, has problems; school bullies & weird dreams being the most prominent. However, his relationship with his sister Doris is wonderful and KG manages to capture the banter without the mush.
                                                   
I loved all the short but succinct back stories to each character such as Doc Wiggins, the owner of the bird emporium, and Black Eagle the old Indian Chief who plays a small but powerful role in the following story.

Gert the Pigeon Lady and the story of Gustav the pigeon was really very touching and if you want to find out more about this story please go here Gustav; RG clearly has a great love for birds.

Little Frankie, a villain in the story, is especially cruel and  I did have a hard time with the animal torture/killing stuff, usually I would stop reading as I just can’t do it, but this had such a strong story line..... And I soon felt that the birds would ultimately get the upper hand so was overjoyed at the murders and attacks!

The first murder of the crows (pun intended) is gruesome, gory, bloody and wonderful but I did wonder how the story would progress with its main villain out of commission, but not all is as it first appears.

There is a real sense of humour running through the characters, which lightens the darkest moments of the story. eg the Bird Poop incident which had me giggling later in the story when described from a different point of view and comments such as  “Frankie was no idiot, although the turnip truck never seemed far behind.”

KG is very good at the suspense element of this feathered thriller and he does very well to make all the characters grow and change in believable ways. I loved the sedge ways into other view points, this was cleverly done and gave a great insight and perspective into other parts of the story.

Lots of strong but peripheral characters add to the advancing story, such as Uncle Ned, Little Frankie’s uncle, what a charming and great role model he is; not

The depth of all of KGs characters comes up on you subtly. Each one adding just small elements which go from bad to worse as the plot thickens on this race-along thriller with a horror twist.

As KG pushes you towards the climactic ending and initially I thought the ending was a bit blah until I followed through with the epilogue, what a wonderful way to bring all the bits and people together, every single loose end was tied, and the final, final ending was outstanding.