I used to love Halloween. It was pretty much the best holiday. I never understood the people who couldn't get into it. That was -- until I dated somebody whose father died on the New York City subway tracks on Halloween night of 1986. After hearing that tragic story, I've kinda given the holiday a side eye. I don't hate it, but I have some intense and conflicted feelings about it. Every Halloween night, I think about the children whose parents -- on the spookiest night of the year -- never made it home.
This brings me to The Silent End -- Samuel Sattin's newest novel.
Set against the backdrop of Mossglow, a tiny little Northwest town, Sattin introduces us to Eberstark and Gus Mustus on what should be their last Halloween. Motherless,
Eberstark hates Halloween for lots of reasons -- and the physical loss of his mother and the metaphorical loss of his father sets him on a journey that will forever change this life. The dark days that follow are unlike any other.
The tendency for blurbs and book reviews is to take something new and compare it to other, older, popular things. Certainly, you could say that The Silent End is part Monster Squad, part Gravity Falls, part Twin Peaks, and part Lovecraft -- as written by a young Stephen King possessed by the spirit of Arthur Machen channelling Gary Gygax, but...
there's no reason to do that here. Sure, if you looked -- you'd find some familiar elements -- but as they say, it's all about execution and style. The Silent End has both in spades!
With Silent End, Sattin's emotionally honest characters and ear for dialogue lure you into a place of comfort. These feel like people you know or people you've grown up with. When you're feeling all safe and sound, that's when Sattin preys on your anxieties of growing up and your fears of abject isolation -- and totally destroys you. [spoiler]
I found myself terrified of Eberstark's father... for reasons. [/spoiler]
This is a remarkably well-crafted book young adult novel, perfect for the dark and stormy Halloween season ahead. It's both unique and splendid.