I finished two books this week – one I was reading to my 12-year-old son and the other I read myself.
The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim
When first received The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim by Canadian author Shane Peacock, I put it aside to read to my son when he was a bit older. He is now a bit older and while he loved the book, I would argue some of the content is questionable for pre-teens. I may have edited while I read and it may comment on its necessity in the book as he didn’t seem to notice. While I don’t have a problem with love or sex, or explaining either to my son, I do have a problem with how women are portrayed. And while I am a fan of teachable moments, sometimes I also just want to read a book.
So, I edited the book.
What was left – and there were only a few parts that I did this – was a cool story of a young man named Edgar Brim who has suffered from night terrors since he was a boy in his cradle, listening to horror stories from his novelist father. But it goes beyond terrors: when Edgar reads books, he feels transported into the story of which he can’t escape. It was this pulling into a story, that my son found a bit confusing so I would stop and say, this is Brim reading the book and now he is in the story itself. When Brim’s dad dies unexpectedly (his mom died in childbirth), Edgar’s guardian sends him to a boy’s school on the Scottish moors, where he is bullied by kids who mock his terrors.
“And soon the horrific death of a schoolmate triggers Brim’s involvement with an eccentric society that believes monsters from famous works of literature are real” and Brim and his friends set about on a dark mission.
I haven’t read most of the classics to my son – or myself for that matter – so the books that Brim’s refers to did require some explanation. My son likes these types of books – adventure, who dunnit, cool weapons – so this book grabbed his attention and held it through all 334 pages. In fact, half way through the book, he asked me to look up if the other books had been written as this is the first in a gothic trilogy. We have now ordered the next two books (spoiler, don’t look up the second book before finishing the first) and are waiting for them to arrive.
Read my review of Monster, Book 2 in the series, here.
Within the first few pages, I knew Bennett, one of the main characters in Melanie Finn’s The Hare, was going to be bad news. I hate that I was right.
Called an “astonishing new literary thriller…The Hare bravely considers a women’s inherent sense of obligation – sexual and emotional – to the male hierarchy.”
Rose Monroe’s parents died in a car crash when she was young and she was sent to live with her grandmother who was just trying to get through life – she had no use to love after her husband and son died, leaving her behind, and didn’t show any to her granddaughter. Rosie grew up in a boarding house run by her grandmother and featuring a series of people who came through the doors. We learn she was molested by one of them and as the story progresses, we learn more about what happened.
After high school, Rosie, who earns a full scholarship to a prestigious art school, leaves her grandmother and starts a new, albeit equally lonely life. It is while at an art museum she meets Bennett, an older man who seems to have it all together. She falls in love, gets pregnant and leaves school. Bennett is around, but leaves Rosie weeks at a time without money, without support. One day, Bennett shares his story – and what he has been up to – as he flees with Rosie and their daughter, Miranda, to a long- abandoned farmhouse in Vermont before disappearing again. It’s up to Rosie to ensure both her and Miranda’s survival.
Despite despising Bennett, I really enjoyed the book. Until the end. The end wasn’t what I was expecting and not sure it’s where I wanted it to go. Nor do I understand the choice Rosie made at the end.
The secondary characters who Rosie meets along the way are also neat characters. I am not a fan of grown-up Miranda and wonder in our quest to protect our children from the truth of their family’s character flaws, if we are harming them instead.
A copy of The Dark Mission of Edgar Brim and The Hare are courtesy
of PGC Books and Tundra Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.