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Book Review: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Book Review: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

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This is a creature feature apocalyptic book which is right up my alley! I first saw this on netflix as a movie – based on a book as always! I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. Spoiler alert the book is better than the movie as most books to movies adaptations are. Interesting fact about Tim Lebbon he wrote a novel that connects the movie Alien to Aliens starring Riddley! Can’t wait to read that one! Other popular books by this author include : The Edge and Coldbrook! I went into this book with no expectations just what I saw on the netflix preview. I was quite surprised by the story even with the common theme of prehistoric creatures taking over the world. Lebbon puts a great twist on a timeless theme.

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So this story starts off with a news broadcast of a discovery in an uncharted cave system. The main family watching this discovery includes Ally who we find out is deaf. Throughout the story we learn that she was not born deaf but was in a car accident with her grandparents who died. She had to learn a totally new way of life. Ally showed resilience that will play a key factor in the family surviving throughout the story. The other members include a brother Jade, father Huw and mother Kelly, and Lynne Kelly’s mother. As they watch the horror of the new discovery unfold on the TV they see creatures from the dark rip apart everything on the screen. They soon realise it is not a stunt or prank but a real life episode.

Thinking they are safe as this cave system is all the way in Moldova they don’t take it so seriously in the beginning. However as time goes on they see that these reptilian creatures called Vesps hunt by sound and are spreading quickly over the continent. Lebbon really plays into the social media aspect here. It is interesting to think of how connected we are today and how if this really happened the speed in which we would all receive live data. We would be way more prepared to anticipate the ‘end of the world’ than say 20 years ago.

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They also learn a lot of life saving information from others posting on social media, not so much the news. People post on Facebook and Twitter that Vesps hunt by sound, they lay eggs in the dead and this is how they spread which are both vital points for the family surviving the Vesp Plague. They decide along with Huw’s friend Glenn to move across the country side to where there is no noise, away from the cities. Live feeds show mass hysteria in the cities, fighting, looting, and people killing each other over supplies. This is a typical apocalyptic scene which I totally believe would happen in real life. It would start off as an every man for themselves attitude. What so you all think? Would humanity help out each other or have the cut throat survival attitude?

We see humanity break down as a man attempts to steal the family’s car and points a gun at Ally. This in turn forces Huw to steal a car in order to get to their destination. The suspense is building at this point as they are nowhere close to their destination and Ally is keeping track of where the Vesps are on social media. The time crunch is on!

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As the pressure to get to safety sets in because Vesps are now in London a horrible turn of events happens. Glen rolls his SUV pinning him in. Moral dilemmas set as Huw and his family decide not to leave him even though the Vesps are almost upon them. They barricade Glen in the best they can and take shelter in their SUV. Ally gives her family a prep talk 101 on how to be silent, her forte now. Her experiences help them understand what to anticipate and how they are going to feel now being able to verbally communicate. As the Vesps descend upon them their dog Otis, who is Ally’s helper, starts to bark. Vesps swarm their SUV and try to break in. Glen can hear the commotion and in a shear act of selflessness he starts shooting his gun to attract the Vesps to him. This is the ultimate sacrifice that restores the readers faith in humanity for a while. Otis however keeps barking and Huw has to make the hard decision to kill their beloved family pet to save themselves. Turn on the tears! At this point they need to draw the Vesps away. Huw blows up Glen’s SUV and the family hightails it for the forest.

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The family comes across a farmhouse. The occupant tried to ward off the ‘intruders’ and ends up attracting Vesps and dying. Everyone finds shelter and safety in the house since the first broadcast of the cave discovery. Huw and Ally try and go to town to find supplies. Two major things happen while they are on their trip. 1. They find out the eggs do not hatch until they are stimulated by noise 2. They find out when it rains the rain disoriented the Vesps giving them a chance to get away. They are slowly finding the Vesp’s weaknesses which gives the reader hope they may defeat their enemy!

On the way back to the farm Huw and Ally meet a different kind of enemy: The Reverend. It is one of the themes in the post apocalyptic stories, the crazy religious cult who justifies what happened as a matter of judgement day. Huw and Ally see first hand the lengths the Reverend will go to survive, he cut his own tongue out!!!! The Reverend now wants Ally so she can teach them sign language, which is the best way to communicate in the silence!!! Huw of course says no and they go on their merry way.

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As night falls the Reverend attacks and throws ringing cell phones into the farmhouse. I thought this was a brilliant crisis causing event! How well thought out of Lebbon. Mayhem ensues as Vesps get in and each family member tries to fight them off. During the chaos the cult followers steal Ally away. Lynn, the reader having learned she has end stage cancer, also self sacrifices and tackles the attackers, screams and sends them all to their death to save Ally. The story ends with the family being on the road again to find their quiet place- haha . Winter is coming and hope is restored that the cold weather will kill off the Vesps.

The Silent was in some ways your typical creature feature but with a modern twist of silence and social media. I really enjoyed this book. Now the movie – meh. It was good, some deviations from the book. Not my most favourite book to movie adaptation but not the worst either. Have any of you read it? What are your thoughts? If you would like me to do a top 5 fav apocalyptic books please let me know!! Please feel free to leave any comments below !

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Happy Reading!!!!!!!

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book review, Books, books, Fiction, inspiration, Literature, top 5

Top 5: Books for Book Club

Top 5: Books for Book Club

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Hello all. Here we go with another top 5 list! May I say I really enjoy researching and writing these! This list I have chosen to do a book club approach as I have recently started a book club at my work. I love discussing the books we read each month with my co workers. However each month a new person chooses a book to read and sometimes they have problems choosing this book. They want to choose one that opens up the conversation and is a really great read. I have researched the following books and actually have read all of them. I can see how they are great books for great conversations. I have included questions that may help you open the conversation up in your book clubs are just questions to keep in mind while reading the book yourself. I hope you enjoy!!!

  1. Educated by Tara Westover
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I really enjoyed reading this memoir by Tara Westover. Tara recounts her life growing up in a strict mormon household that also is a doomsday prepper family. She especially highlights that they do not go to school and they are so off the grid they do not have birth certificates. The reader watches as she constantly struggles to follow her parents teaching but also to try and live a normal life and learn. Her father’s beliefs are so ingrained into Tara that even in adulthood she has a hard time coping with regular day activities of a ‘normal’ person.

Questions/discussion topics

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  • how your childhood experiences follow through with you to adulthood and how these affect the man/woman you are becoming.
  • How would you feel if you broke away from your family to have the life you wanted
  • How would you think it feels to not even know what the Holocaust was
  • How would you feel if your parents did not believe you when you told them your own brother was abusing you?

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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To Kill A Mockingbird has to be one of my absolute fav books and it is definitely one that I would take with me to a desert island. The shear innocence of Scout is heartbreaking and invigorating at the same time. It truly is a classic masterpiece outlining the rampant racism and privilege on the old South in the 30’s. Also new for its time outlines what it is like to be a single dad as it was not as common as it is now. Scout’s dad Atticus is a lawyer wh0o defends a local ‘black’ man accused of raping a local white girl. Scout depicts her upbringing and is an awe-inspiring coming of young age tale.

Questions/ Discussion Topics

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  • What parts of this novel did you really like? Which parts did you not find interesting?
  • How do Jem and Scout’s view of Boo Radley change throughout the novel?
  • How do you think Atticus managed the role of being a single parent? Compare what it would be like for a single dad in the 30/s and present day.
  • How did the trial change the town? Did it change the town?

3. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

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For me the Life of Pi ranks up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. It follows Pi and his family while they immigrate to Canada (go red and white!!!). They ship capsizes and the story then follows Pi trying to survive when all is lost. He is stranded or 227 days and to his account he is stranded with a bunch of animals from their family’s zoo.

Questions/Discussion Topics

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  • Are the animals real or are they metaphors of real people in Pi’s life that his brain concocked to deal with the trauma?
  • What if any are the religious cross over into the storytelling?
  • How do the people in your life reflect any of the animals and their characteristics?
  • How is the concept of Richard Parker echo that of overcoming one’s fears?

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Still Alice was a very different read. I do not think that there are too many books out there shining a light on what a person with Alzhimer’s experiences- first hand. Alice is a cognitive psychologist at Harvard and she recognizes that she is exhibiting signs of Alzhimer’s disease. The story expressing her journey of from the signs to diagnosis to progression of this relenting disease. It also lets the reader see how her family cope with the news and how this changes their lives and relationships.

Questions/ Discussion Topics

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  • How would you feel/react if you did not recognize the place you where in?
  • What do you feel or think it would feel like to recognize what is happening to you, knowing you were getting the devastating disease and the horrible outcome?
  • How do you feel about the family’s reactions? How would you react if someone in your life received this diagnosis?
  • What do we gain from seeing this story through Alice’s eyes? Does her job play into this view?

5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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I loved loved loved this book! I have read this one soo long ago but instantly thought of it as a great book club book! The setting is a circus. The story is told by Jacob who is 93 and lives in a nursing home. Jacob recounts the years he lived in the circus as he watches a circus set up camp beside his home. He becomes a vet to the circus and becomes romantically attached to the star Marlena who has an equestrian show. She had a jealous husband August who is the animal trainer. He also forms an attachment to an elephant Rosie. It gives the readers all sorts of feels!

Questions/ Discussion Topic

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  • Is this story an adventure, love, or survival story and why
  • Does this book change your point of view of the circus, especially in the recent light of the Ringling Brother’s shut down.
  • Who where your favourite characters, animals included
  • Where you surprised at the ending? Why? How would you have liked the book to end?

For all of those out there in book clubs or thinking of starting one (I will have a blog post at a later time regarding how to start a book club) I hoped these books and questions have helped. Even if you are not a member of a book club you can always keep these questions floating around your mind and answer them while you read the book. It may help to bring a deeper understanding of view of the book you are reading. Some of these questions are standard so they can be applied to any book not just the 5 I have mentioned. As always feel free to leave comments below. If you are in a book club what are some exciting book that sparked a great discussion with your members?

Happy Reading!!