I didn’t think it was bad. In fact, I loved the ending, and Frances was a character I ended up loving, but I was just too weighed down with the overall sad tone, and the detached writing. I never knew what the main character was really feeling. And there was a LOT of emotions in this book. Like, Emotion Titanic levels.
I absolutely could not put Path of Needles down. It was a complete joy of a read.
Crime fiction isn't usually my cup of tea, but Littlewood's novel is so original and exciting that it totally won me over. I've ordered A Cold Season now (normally I wouldn't go near anything with any reference to Richard & Judy on the cover!) I want more!
I really liked the idea of a 'bobby on the beat' getting a shot at the big time with such an unusual case, I thought that was a nice touch. And GREAT to see an independent female protagonist too, no "Kick Ass" (*shudder*) crop-topped heroine lusting after a buff, brooding male lead. In fact, there's none of that ridiculously sexist crap that Paranormal is so known for these days. Which made it an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Cate is such an 'everyman' character, struggling with her big break and not wanting to mess things up, common sense fighting with instinct, so aware of the consequences of a mistake. And perfectly capable of fighting her own battles and making her own decisions. Alice is a wonderful character too, so passionate about her subject, so dreamy and yet so focused. I'm going to miss her.
And of course, I've not even touched on the best of it yet. The Fairy Tale angle. I think it's going to be one that you'll either love or hate. I couldn't have loved it more. I was hooked on Fairy Tales growing up, and getting to read about them in an adult novel was wonderful. Terrifyingly wonderful. To see the darkness and the violence behind the well known children's tales was an education for me. It's such a meticulously researched novel, the tale variants are completely compelling, and the darkness and violence of these seemingly innocuous bedtime tales was fantastic material for one of the creepiest killers I've ever encountered in fiction. Truly red in tooth and claw.
Littlewood really got into my head. I walked my son down to the park about an hour after finishing this one, and we passed a house with an aviary in the back garden and a tree filled with bird feeders of every description, I panicked and sped the buggy up double time to get away from it, just in case! (You'll know when you read it).
If you're a fan of Fairy Tales, and you appreciate the darkness of their roots, you're going to love this book. I can't recommend it highly enough. Five stars no question.
Clara Dooley is an 12 year old girl sometime in the late 19th Century,who lives with her mother who is the housekeeper in an old run down an old run-down house belonging to Mrs Glendoveer the widow of an once world famous magician.
Since Clara has a weak heart since birth she is not allowed to go to school or to go outside unsupervised so she spends her time helping to care for Mrs Glendoveer who still grieves for the loss of her children several decades ago.
Mrs Glendoveer owns five exotic birds,a cockatoo,a mynah bird,a kiskadee and a honeycreeper. They are kept in an aviary and Clara is a bit scared of them since they like to screech and make a horrible noises when they see her.
The enormous black iron cage, almost as big as Clara’s own room, was backed up against the corner garden wall and sheltered under a pergola with a tattered roof. At the sight or sound of a human being, the birds inside would flutter and scream as if they were on fire, grasping at the bars with their sharp claws.
Judging from the noise, anyone nearby would have thought there were at least a dozen birds, but Clara knew there were only five—a mynah with a saffron mask surrounding blood-red eyes, a white, sulfur-crested cockatoo, a noisy black grackle, a fearless yellow kiskadee, and a terrified foam-green honeycreeper who pulled at his own feathers.
Per Mrs Glendoveers instructions they are to be taken very well taken care at all times even after her death.
Wich comes one night when Mrs Glendoveer passes away and things starts to change in Claras life both in the magical and mundane way when she makes a new friend and the birds in the aviary starts to talk to her...
Maybe there are some unresolved things from the past that needs to be set right and Clara might just be the person who can accomplish this.
The aviary was a book that I really enjoyed reading and while to some of the answers to mysteries become obvious as you read on this is a book for children after all ,I felt that that there were still some things I didnt know until the end of the book.
Clara was a great heroine,she starts out as this timid and unquestioning girl,but as we we follow her she gains her courage and happy ending
Not only is it a tale with supernatural elements but its also a story about the relationship between a mother and her child,and growing up wanting to be able to make your own decisions.
I like the comparision the author makes between the birds in their cage and the life Clara is living.
Clara and her friend Daphne Asphinal might sound oddly adult in the way they talk but I think it fits the time period when this takes place wich is late 1890s/early 1900s
And if you know anything of this period in time you have to suspend your disbelief that an 11 year old girl would correspond with an old man and that he would respond but its easily overlooked as you get immersed in the story.
Towards the end there are some home-alone antics wich broke the mood slightly but these things I have mentioned are just small things in a very good book.