I love me a unique creature feature book and what better one to plunk down and read than Tim Lebbon’s The Silence? You might have seen the Netflix adaptation that more than recalled A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski. While I enjoyed both films, I feel like Mr. Lebbon’s original novel has not been discussed too often, which I think is unfair.
WHAT IS IT?
Written by Tim Lebbon and first published in 2015, The Silence tells the story of Ally — a girl deafened from a childhood incident — and her family’s struggle in a world changed by deadly creatures that hunt by sound.
WHAT DID I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK?
Ally and her dad Huw serve as the main protagonists, and they have a good dynamic with their family. As mentioned, Ally has been deaf since she was a kid so it’s interesting to see how the family works with her situation. As the world is changed by Vesps, winged and sightless creatures that immediately feast on any living creature that makes a sound, the family is able to take advantage of sign language to communicate in silence.
Speaking of Vesps, I thought they were very fascinating creatures to read about. Though terrifying, there’s a morbid curiosity to find out how they tick. Thankfully, our characters are as inquisitive as I am and there are a few instances where they test out how the Vesps work, which also make for some tense sequences.
The book also displays just how crucial social media is in conveying information. Ally’s family is able to take action to save themselves early on while the Vesps are still in another country because they utilize what they learn online. I also liked how social media becomes another challenge they have to face later on in the book. As they hunker down in a remote cottage, eerily reminiscent of our current times, Ally, the family’s unofficially designated social media comber, she has to sift through false information and information that maliciously seeks to harm others.
As if things aren’t tough enough with the Vesps and fake news around, the family also has to face a cult, lead by the Reverend, who seek to indoctrinate the family, particularly Ally, so they can use sign language for their own benefit.
Lastly, while I’m trying to avoid comparisons with the movies, I appreciate that the book ends on a realistically downbeat note that left the book lingering on my mind.
WHAT DIDN’T I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK?
I thought it was a near perfect reading experience (for me) and I didn’t quite find a lot to dislike, except for moments where I’m like “what now?”
The Silence is a great creature feature book with compelling characters, unique and fascinating monsters, and challenges for our characters that up the ante. I love it!
Dustin is a horror fan and sometimes short story writer who hails from the Philippines. He likes a lot of the horror genre but usually goes for slashers and arthouse/slowburn stuff. Currently, he’s trying to make up for lost time in the horror literature world by digesting as many horror books as he can.