Book Reviews

[review] Dark Song – Gail Giles

Release Date: September 12, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 292
Format: Hardcover
Source: Finished copy from Hachette Book Group Canada

Mark said he heard the dark song when he creeped houses. The song the predator’s heart sings when it hears the heart of the prey. I heard it now. Mark said it had always been in me. Lurking. Waiting for me to hear.

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. Now, all she has is Marc. Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who owns a gun collection. And he’ll stop at nothing–evenusing his guns–to get what he wants. Ames feels her parents have betrayed her with their lies and self-absorption, but is she prepared to make the ultimate betrayal against them?

Discovery: I came across this book in the Hachette fall catalogue and the premise struck a chord in me.

+     Themes. Before you add this book to your TBR pile, be warned that it is much more serious than the premise makes it sound. I know that doesn’t sound likely, but I found myself close to tears more than once while reading it. There is no way that this book can be mistaken for a light read.

Desperation, helplessness, dishonesty: all of these mix into Ames’ story to create a storm of bad decisions and hatred. There were many instances where I was tempted to put the book down because the emotions were simply too much for me to take. While that might sound like a bad thing, I would be the first to recommend this book for the sheer power of Ames’ experiences. Giles doesn’t shy away from the truth of Ames’ family troubles and many teens will relate to the changes that Ames is dealt. I especially loved the ending because honestly? There’s no way a happy ending can be contrived for this story and Giles didn’t try to write one. She was true to the story and that courage alone is worth reading this book for.

+     Voice. Ames is a teenager who has lived her entire life without a single care. When her father is fired, the floor buckles and crumbles beneath her and her family comes close to doing the same. She is stubborn and strong and the saddest part is that she can’t see that strength through her disappointment. Make no mistake, Ames is a character that will stay with every reader after they finish the book because she is who we are afraid to be. She feels too much, she knows too much, she is afraid to let it all in. Every word that comes out of her mouth is two-sided and pained. I may not like her, but she represents that darker side in every person who we have to learn to respect and work with. She’s human, and I admire her for it.

Recommendations: While this isn’t a book for younger readers, I do think it’s something that older readers will understand and learn from, especially in the troubled times we live in today. Gail Giles is to be commended for her honesty and bravery in writing this book.

Rating: Very good.

Go visit Gail Giles at her website.

You can check out Dark Song on Goodreads and order it over at Amazon and Book Depository.

Next review: Bunheads, Sophie Flack

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2 replies »

  1. I’m not one to pick up really heavy reads often, and after my mixed feelings for the ending of Eolyn, I really don’t want an unhappily-every after. It sounds like a very powerful book though and I enjoyed your review. The cover art is simply stunning.

    -Eliabeth

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