Length: 275 pages
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Marty Jameson spends most of his days in the attic, doing whatever it is that he can to keep him there; because in the house, away from his refuge, lie his psychotic mother, drug-dealing father, and nearly dead comatose brother. Subjected to physical abuse from his parents at the slightest provocation and held responsible for an accident that resulted in his brother’s condition, Marty has almost no good thing to look forward to in life. The only one who cared for him is no longer a part of his life, with life taking its natural course; and the house that had once been his savior now breathed with an evil that remained in the shadows. But the evil made itself heard and see every night – in the very attic that is Marty’s haven in the day. That is why the twelve year old boy never ventures into that part of the house at night. With his very life at risk because of a mother whose rage episodes are enhanced by her addictions, Marty finds solace in a place he’d least expected – in the warmth of Sadie Marsh and her mother, the two who occupy the house next to them.
Sadie has seen Marty sneak into the attic, seen him bleed from his mother’s attacks, and seen his sadness. Confined to her wheelchair, she waits for hours by her window, looking out for the boy who seems to hold the only light of innocence in a house that seems to be filled with darkness. But their new found friendship is threatened by the very things that haunt Marty’s house; and the young boy is unable to accept that his bad luck and the evil that haunts him may affect wonderful Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to help them all, then he needs to face the demons that haunt him – both real and supernatural. And the first monster he needs to confront is the one that haunts the attic every night, the one that, every night, turns his haven into a nightmare.
When I began Wink, I found the story to be just about bearable. It regales you with the background and environment that Marty faces every day. While most of it was relatively interesting, it seemed to stretch on a bit without really going anywhere. I read on because it still managed to pique my curiosity, although not too strongly. But then it got interesting, and simply didn’t let up; finally making me go from mild curiosity to not being able to put the book down.
Eric Trant has created a character with which readers can really associate. It isn’t just Marty that you feel for, but everyone else that features in the book, however small a role they may play. His writing style may seem a bit odd in the beginning, but does grow on you, making the entire read much smoother. The only problem with that style though was in the odd shift of point of view. There are many chapters that are written from a first person point of view that come up at random moments in the book, which is otherwise written entirely from a third person point of view. The shift is a little too abrupt and takes more getting used to than the overall style of writing. Trant’s addition of chapter names, however, adds a little guidance to the change, in effect making the shift a bit easier as you get used to considering the names more than just a header.
The story itself is quite interesting, sometimes predictable, but never boring once past the first few chapters. There’s a lot happening at every turn and most of it adds to the complexity of the situation in which a simple boy finds himself. That makes the reader associate that much more with Marty who mostly carries the story himself, with little responsibility falling on the additional characters. While I wouldn’t say that the book was scary or frightening, it was definitely blunt in its narration of gruesome aspects while being intricately descriptive. That leaves you almost able to see the things that are being written about, sometimes with a clarity that can be chilling.
The idea around which the story is based is very interesting and seems like it can have more stories written around it. But I did find it lacking in depth. Throughout the story, and also towards the end, I kept hoping for more clarity and more explanation on every supernatural aspect. Also, many basic things that need to be wrapped up were left hanging, leaving me wondering just what was going to happen to the characters after the story ended.
All in all, Wink is a story that is written blatantly, depicting the good and bad for what it is without softening the blow. It may seem a bit too graphic and disturbing to some, but for those who don’t mind some graphic reading, it is a book that will make for good time spent. While I won’t say that I will be the first to buy a book that Trant writes, he is definitely an author that I could return to. And if you like fantasy thrillers, then Wink is a book that you should pick up – it may not be the best that you read, but it is in no way disappointing. What you take away in a positive light will definitely beat the few drawbacks that the book had.