Monday, June 1, 2009

Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson

Fourteen year old Bobby’s mother decided to relocate him and his younger brother to the Irish countryside. She says it’s to give Bobby a fresh start away from the gangs, drugs, and general violent life in Dublin, but it is never that simple. They find a cottage to rent. It seems nice if you can ignore the folklore that says the house was built on a fairy line and you have to feed the fairies or they’ll get you. Or if you can ignore your younger brother sneaking off to the kitchen in the middle of the night and whispering to someone. And it seems especially nice if you can ignore the murders and disappearances of previous tenants…

This book was suitable creepy, but it was not what I expected. Bobby is a very troubled boy and the majority of the story deals with him and his demons. His desire to fit into his “gang” and to steal, rob, hurt people, to leave reality by consuming drugs and alcohol. It was so realistic, I believed every word, but I found Bobby so unlikeable that it was difficult for me to read this book. He always seemed to be on the cusp of understanding the pointlessness of the way he was living his life, but without ever actually coming to that conclusion. Eventually, of course, there is a resolution - a happy one even, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with it.

It was terrifically written, but I wish it had stayed focused on the creepy rather than Bobby’s troubles. I think my feelings are probably just a reflection of expectations and that another reader would feel very differently. It also left me feeling depressed about the prospects for Dublin’s youth. Oy.

I did very much enjoy and appreciate the double meaning of the title. There is definitely more than one kind of night creature in this book.

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