The Silence by Tim Lebbon
Genre: Horror / Apocalyptic
Publisher: Titan Books
My Rating: 3/5
Synopsis: In the darkness of a underground cave, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, voices, and they feed… Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive; to whisper is to summon death. As the hordes lay waste to Europe, a girl watches to see if they will cross the sea. Deaf for years, she knows how to live in silence; now, it is her family’s only chance of survival. To leave their home, to shun others. But what kind of world will be left?
I reeeeally wanted to like this book. The back cover is peppered with quotes from other authors who enjoyed the book and I usually love anything apocalyptic.
Sadly, I didn’t love it.
Lebbon has written a fair few horror novels. He obviously knows what he’s doing, but this novel kind of just fell flat for me. I was never really scared. Maybe a little apprehensive at times as the Vesps (the name of the blind, bat-like creatures that lay waste to Europe; not a very scary name) make their way towards the UK. But I wasn’t on the edge of my seat by any means.
I didn’t care much whether the characters lived or died. At the end I think I did care for them a bit but if all of them had been killed off it would have been a moment of “oh, that’s a shame” and then I’d have got on with my day. In all honesty, it was the dog that I cared about the most.
Lebbon’s writing is perfectly fine – like I said, he’s obviously experienced – but I found the plotting to be a little off. Things seemed too conveniently placed. And as for the Vesps, they didn’t really scare me. I was expecting big, humanoid, freaky creatures, like the wendigo’s from PS4 horror game Until Dawn but with wings:
In reality, the Vesps were little bat-like creatures with no eyes and a lot of teeth. The teeth are the scariest thing about them. In fact, Lebbon’s descriptions of the creatures roosting in trees, snuggled up against the trunk, or gently swaying, actually sounded kind of cute. I’m not sure if there’s something inherently wrong with me but those descriptions just made the Vesps sound like sweet, but extremely hungry, bats. Some people might find them really scary, but for me the horror just wasn’t there.
However, it was interesting that the family were all able to sign what with the daughter, Ally, being deaf. This made life a lot easier for them, but it also attracted some unwanted attention from a crazed Reverend. I actually found the Reverend more unsettling than the Vesps. However, I won’t spoil any plot points around him in case you plan on giving the book a go.
Overall, not the scariest horror book I’ve ever read, nor the most engaging characters, but it wasn’t a wholly bad read. It was interesting to have a UK apocalyptic setting for once, and some people will surely love this book, but for me it just wasn’t scary enough. If you want to be really scared, check out my post of my favourite horror novels.
Have you read The Silence? What did you think? Or do you have any other horror books to recommend? Let me know in the comments!
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