Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel - A Review

Put yourself in Steve's place.

Steve lives with his parents, sister and new baby brother. The baby brother is 'very poorly' and takes up the majority of his parents time......but what if there is a simple chance that the baby can be 'fixed'. All it takes is a simple word 'Yes!'

What would you do?

A simple enough premise for a very thought provoking and engaging novel. As it starts out we are introduced to Steve, his family and the 'angels' he meets in his dreams. The 'angels' seem to know all about the problems with the baby and have a solution but they need Steve's help. It all seems clear cut but, as is often the case, not everything is. When you add in ' The knife guy' - a creepy, sinister looking fellow that not everyone can see it is easy to judge who is good, who is bad and so on.

No, no, no, no,'s not as clear cut as that, and here are possible SPOILERS so you may want to come back after you've read the book

You still sure you want SPOILERS?!?!?

Last chance.........

Right, the 'angels' in Steve's dreams are actually wasps (of a variety never seen before) and their plan is to grow Steve and his family a replacement for the baby in the hive outside his house. All Steve has to do is agree to open a window when the time comes so the wasps can do the switcheroo. At first it seems a good idea but when he realises what it means for the 'original' version of the baby he changes his mind. Then things really get moving as the wasps don't like that.

"Gripping" is a word sometimes too freely used with regards to books but in this instance I really feel it's the best for the job. I was given this copy, an uncorrected proof, by a friend and started reading at the bus stop 5 minutes later. From then until I finished it 2 days later it itched at me to read just a little bit more, but there were also moments, proper edge of the seat times, that made me feel more like peeking at the next page rather than tearing straight into it. Tense times....

I guess I would bracket this book as mid-teen Sci-Fi but really I'd suggest picking it up whatever your reading preferences as it is a really good read (and, hey, I learnt how wasps make nests, which I didn't know before).

Final word goes to the illustrations - just fairly simple pencil drawings but they really add to the atmosphere.

4.5/5 stars

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