Jul 3, 2013
Recent Reads: A Voice in the Night by Ernestine Dali
Background: Set in the woods three boys are ready for a normal weekend of cabin living and adventure, until one dark and stormy night they encounter a mysterious knock at the door that could be the worst thing for them. Will they be able to figure out the mystery of who stole the diamonds in town or will they be pulled into someone’s evil scheme in the woods.
Review: A Voice in the Night is a short story of about 40 pages, full of descriptors and painting a vivid picture of the surroundings to the reader. In a cabin in the woods Brian, Josh and Thomas are excited for a day of fishing and outdoor activities.
I had some issues with this tale, for one, how old are these boys? It reads like it should be for a Middle Grade early Young Adult genre but it never tells you, then a few pages in, you discover that the boys are in high school. That is fine, the only problem is that as you are in Brian’s train of thought he seems a lot younger.
A few other peeves I had where wording mistakes, and the names of the people. For example at one point the author is explaining how Brian’s parents care for Thomas and they spend “qualitative time” with him, instead of quality time (at least I think this was a mistake, otherwise I am confused). Then the families are all names with the same beginning letter: Brian Bradshaw and his parents Brenda and Bobby Bradshaw; Josh and his parents Jennifer and Jerald Joplin. It is a bit intense…not horrible just intense.
The plot is a little jumpy and confusing but the theme is not that bad. The boys are all very different, coming from various backgrounds and most of the first half is about Brian striving to meet his life goals and working hard to accomplish them. While this is a great plot for young readers, the story doesn’t flow all that well between the moments of reflecting on his accomplishments and the plot. The plot is a lot of fun, mysterious and creepy and I would have liked more pages dedicated to it. Based on the title and synopsis, the mystery is the main theme, but based on what is written the theme seems to focus on goals – this was the biggest issue for me.
Sadly, I do not think this was a flushed out and well edited story, after some tweaking I think it could be a wonderful short for young and reluctant readers.
View all my reviews