Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: The Quality of Silence

Title:  The Quality of Silence
Author:  Rosamund Lupton
Genre:  Adventure/Thriller
Publisher:  Crown Publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC
Number of Pages:  286
My Rating:  3.5 out of 5

I love adventure stories. I especially love adventure stories that thrust the reader into life-or-death scenarios, complete with almost impossible challenges to overcome, characters I can love or hate, and clear-cut wars being waged between good and evil.  For me, this book fell a bit short. Here's why:

Life-or-death & Good v. Evil: Lupton does an expert job of setting the stage on the vast, barren, frigid expanse of Alaska, in which a mother and her deaf daughter defy the odds to find their missing and presumed dead husband and father, who was spending time in a remote village researching native wildlife. Facing the dangers posed by both humans and weather, the two gear up and set out with no knowledge of how treacherous their journey would actually be.  It is sometimes unclear which humans are on the side of good or evil along the way, but a little confusion keeps things interesting.

Challenges: The unpredictable and hammering weather, first and foremost, seeks to be their undoing, followed next by guilty men intent on stopping the duo from discovering the truth.

Characters: The only two characters I connected to were the weather -- which Lupton manages to give its own personality through continuous strong depiction of its relentless, unforgiving wind, snow, and darkness -- and ten-year-old Ruby, whose 'voice' sounds more like a 12 or 13 year old to me. Ruby insists on accompanying her mother on her harrowing journey, but I could never quite accept the fact that her mother allowed her to do so. I can't imagine putting my own child in that dangerous situation. Ruby's love for her parents and her acceptance of her deafness lace the story in a positive way, so that rooting for her is easy. The mother, Yasmin, gets on my nerves, but not enough for me to feel strongly about her one way or the other. I thought she had a chilly heart, though she does thaw out somewhat by the end. The father, Matt, though physically absent for most of the story, is also easy to like. However, I just didn't have the opportunity to know him well enough to form a strong opinion. It is truly the weather that is the central character in the book, and I'm certain I saw my own frozen breath on every page. Kudos to Lupton for her intense portrayal of a non-human entity.

As a story, I feel the first half of the book drags, the second half picks up speed and is more exciting, and the ending is rushed in its effort to wrap things up. And I did not appreciate the geo-political lecturing that filled the final chapters. Interesting facts were presented, but it was rather in-your-face.

There you have it. Some great elements, some not so great. Just my opinion, of course.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from for review.  

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