Title: Tell the Story to its End
Author: Simon P. Clark
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy
Setting: Modern day England
In this beautiful, haunting debut, a boy is whisked away to the country in the wake of a scandal, and finds a captivating creature in the attic whose attention comes at a sinister price.
“Tell the story to its end,” says Eren with a grin.
His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night.
“When I reach the end,” I say, “what happens? You’ll have the whole story.”
“Hmm,” he says, looking at me and licking his lips with a dry, grey tongue. “What happens then? Why don’t we find out?”
People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad where his father is. Why isn’t he with them? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic…
Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.
Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening downstairs with his family. But what if it’s a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth—or abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever.
Reminiscent of SKELLIG by David Almond and A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness, EREN is richly atmospheric, moving, unsettleing, and told in gorgeous prose. A modern classic in the making.
From Me: I was mailed an ARC of this novel by the publisher. I think I won it from Goodreads maybe, but the insert that came with the book didn’t specify so I’m guessing here. At any rate, all opinions are honest and my own.
You’re immediately dropped into the drama that has become Oli’s life from the very first pages of the book. I thought that this set the somewhat ominous tone of the book and I felt drawn in from the beginning. Oli is a likeable boy who doesn’t complain where most kids his age would and he makes friends way easier than I ever did in real life. He knows that the adults in his life are keeping something big from him and added to the fact that his father isn’t in the picture, he knows it isn’t good. Added to that, Oli and his mother go to stay with Oli’s uncle at their old family home in the countryside and this house has an attic that most people would be too afraid to venture into.
His relationship with Eren is also introduced to the reader from page one. Who or what is Eren? From the opening lines of the book, “‘Tell the story to its end’, says Eren with a grin. His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night,” you get the feeling that Eren is going to be a frightening presence in Oli’s new life. You have to wonder, why is Oli drawn to the attic and Eren at all? The idea of the relationship between the reader and the story is cleverly explored using Oli and Eren’s interactions.
What I loved about this story was the interweaving of myths and legends from other cultures into Oli’s story. I recognized the legend of the selkies from a Scottish legend among others. I also loved the illustrations throughout the book. They were all black and white and were perfectly timed throughout the story. The story as a whole had a fable-ish feel to it. I thought it was an absolutely perfect book to read for this time of the year. You can almost imagine it being read aloud around a campfire on a dark, chilly night.