14 December 2015

Books: The Silent End By Samuel Sattin (2015)

"In a mist-covered town in the Pacific Northwest three teenagers find themselves pitted against an unearthly menace that dwells beneath the foundations of their high school. Eberstark is an outcast and he’s tired of pretending everything is fine. His mother disappeared almost a year ago after a long battle with depression. His father is conducting experiments and running around town in the middle of night with a mysterious man known only as The Hat, ranting to Eberstark about beasts no one else can see. Then on Halloween night, Eberstark, alongside his only friends Lexi and Gus, discovers something in the woods to challenge his father’s apparent insanity: a wounded monster. Rather than stir the town into frenzy, the three friends hide the creature and are pulled into a web of conspiracy, dream-logic, and death. Faced down by living trucks, mirror-dwelling psychopaths, and hellish entities who lurk behind friendly faces, Eberstark, Lexi, and Gus find themselves battling to save not just themselves, but the soul of their quiet little town."

The Silent End is a mish-mash of horror, dark humor, fantasy and science fiction. It works because author Sattin has created believable, three-dimensional characters in Eberstark (the narrator’s last name and we go through nearly 90% of the book before his first name is revealed), Lexi and Gus. All are not your typical Hollywood heroes though, with Eberstark and Gus being basically nerds and outcasts, while Lexi is just the girl who should be popular (even with a bum eye) but revels in being a social pariah. They are characters that anyone who does not fit in with the typical hierarchy of High School, would see in them. The fact that he does not make them so irritatingly nerdy like the TV show The Big Bang Theory does is a strike in favor for Samuel Sattin.

While the novel creates an alternate universe for Mossglow (set in the Pacific Northwest that could be Washington state or Oregon (or combination of both)) to exist in, Sattin does borrow some themes from the works of Stephen King. Mossglow reminds me much of King’s fictional town of Derry, Maine - an extra place of ugliness where horrible things happen, yet the people who live there seem to exist in the ether of indifference. There is also a bit of Desperation in here as well, but Sattin also seems to make many nods to H.P. Lovecraft as well. And one could also say the book shares a universe with Twin Peaks.

Still, the book is well-plotted, entertaining and fun. The three main characters bond well together, working as a team to solve the darkness that has surrounded this town. Of course, it’s not perfect. It has a few nonsensical things (the Shepherd) and relies too much on coincidence and convenience; with a villain who seeks world domination from some sleepy backwater town that could not really exist in the world and whom must’ve taken a page from a many James Bond films. 

But it is, as I said, entertaining. And sometimes, that’s all that counts.

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