Book Review – The Silence by Tim Lebbon

The Silence
by Tim Lebbon
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: April 14, 2015

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When I read the press release for THE SILENCE, my first thought was “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?” The premise of the book is unique, but it’s actually a plausible one as well. We have no clue as to how many enclosed ecosystems exist on Earth, and this book is a horrific look into what might be if we opened one. Author Tim Lebbon weaves a masterful tale of turmoil and tribulation for one family as they fight to survive an unthinkable scenario. If you have never read one of Lebbon’s novels before, THE SILENCE is the perfect book on which to cut your teeth.

If you are not familiar with THE SILENCE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Titan Books:

In the darkness of a underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed… Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive and destroy. To scream, even 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 many 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, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?

We, as a society, take our ability to communicate instantly for granted. But what if we could no longer email, text, or even talk verbally for that matter? This is the underlying inference in Lebbon’s book, and it prompts many questions. Perhaps relying on instantaneous communication might be a reason for mankind’s downfall after all.

THE SILENCE is written very well and flows at a nice clip. Lebbon writes with a fluid style, which grants the reader complete immersion into the story. His realistic descriptions of modern family life are spot on, and they make the horrific events even more terrible when things hit the fan.

The characters in THE SILENCE are damaged and believable, everyday people that could be our neighbors, friends, or family members. Ally, who is deaf; her dad Huw, who spends more time at work than home; his wife Kelly, who loves Huw but has fallen out of love with him…the list goes on. These people and the plight they endure are a primary reason the book is so tense.

But the story itself is the main winner. What a horrifying situation to be in the middle of! The concept of verbal communication is an innate characteristic that every human being shares. But if something comes along that makes speaking a deadly option, what then? This fear hangs over everything through the book.

The creatures in THE SILENCE are primal and terrifying, the perfect antagonists for this kind of concept. And while nothing similar to them exists in nature to our knowledge, there is a very real possibility that we will one day run across an unexpected cryptid that could be just as deadly.

THE SILENCE is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it. The writing is strong, the characters are well-written, and the premise itself is enough to cause many sleepless nights. The book is not due out for another month, but make a note on your calendar to pick it up when it releases. This is one novel you cannot afford to miss.

MSB

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