Release Date: 17 April 368 pages | Paperback/ ebook Author: Tim Lebbon Publisher: Titan Books
Our genre is full of threats with one fatal flaw, whether it’s the Weeping Angels’ inability to move when witnessed, or the T- Rex’s trouble seeing stationary targets. It should be consoling to know there’s something heroes can do when faced with scary monsters. But those apparent imperfections often create increased tension, as your lead desperately tries not to blink at statues, or stay still as a dinosaur snorts his hat off.
The Silence’s Big Bads are no different. Bat- like beasts called vesps who can’t see anything, they hunt by sound, gruesomely decimating their prey in the hope that they’ll inspire screams, so they can start the cycle all over again. It’s a pretty cool high concept, but it gets better. Our main protagonist is a young deaf girl, Ally, with a close- knit family who can sign to each other – they can communicate without sound. Ally’s perceived disability combines with her fierce intelligence, giving her loved ones a chance of survival as the vesps, released from a cave prison during an excavation, spread across the planet.
If The Silence has a flaw, it’s that it’s an extremely slow- paced book. But when the action does eventually kick in, that weakness is revealed as a strength – the time taken to build makes you care about carefully crafted characters, bringing almost unbearable stress to the conclusion. Sam Ashurst