Well, the gaps between book reviews aren’t getting any shorter, but I hope this’ll be worth the wait. The book itself was, although it must now be close to two months since I read it.
When I wrote my review of Hydra, I did say I was trying to hold off on reading more of Matt Wesolowski’s books – if only so I didn’t run out of them before he’d released another. What I found myself doing was going back to re-read Beast. This is the fourth in the series, but the first one I’d read (reviewed here). I’d said at the time that I didn’t feel I’d had to read the previous books. However, having subsequently read the first three in the series, I was curious to see if the experience of Beast was different. And, of course, it was. Not dramatically. But certain references had more meaning, so I’m glad I revisited the book.
It does help that Matt’s books aren’t overly long. Generally less than 300 pages, they don’t feel like a mountain to climb when you look at them. Having said that, once you’re in there, you’re drawn in further and struggle to drag yourself away. Since Beast, I’ve managed to immerse myself in some other great books – which I’ll share soon(ish) – but I suspect I’ll give in soon and dive into Deity.
If you haven’t read any of Matt’s books – or my previous reviews of them – it’s worth explaining the Six Stories concept. Each novel is presented as a series of podcasts, rather than as a straight narrative. I’ve said before that it feels like a kind of updated version of an approach used in classic gothic horror novels, where the story is told via letters and journal entries. Again, although the stories are set very much in the present day, there’s an underlying element that puts you in mind of gothic horror, so this device serves to underline it.
The podcast host, Scott King, takes a look at an event over the course of six episodes, with each story revealing a different perspective about the event being investigated. The aim is to get a better understanding of what really happened. In the books to date, the revelations have turned things radically on their heads.
As ever, I won’t talk much about the story itself – no spoilers. If you really need to, read the blurb, but going in blind only enhanced the experience for me. That said, I’m glad I’d read the previous two novels before starting Changeling. I’d thought Hydra was something of a game-changer for Scott King, but this one took things to a whole new level – and I really didn’t see it coming.
Yet again, there is social commentary, which is presented in a way that makes you reflect but not feel as if you’ve been beaten over the head with it. For my money, this is the way it should be done. I only hope I can get that balance with my own writing.
But that’s only a part of it. A little boy disappeared under mysterious circumstances many years ago, and now it’s time to see if the truth can be revealed. Will six perspectives be enough? Most of the way through, you’re thinking the answer has to be obvious. But you also think: ‘No… it’s just too obvious – isn’t it?’
All I can say is the revelation of how the disappearance happened is only part of the story.
For a variety of reasons, I’ve had a number of shocks to my system in the last year. You know the kinds of things. They aren’t physical, but the news is so bad you feel as if they are. When I reached the end of Changeling, it felt like I’d had another one. That’s the power of Matt’s writing.
As I write this, I realise I’ve been kidding myself. I need to give in and read Deity.