The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney (Solaris-May 10th, 2016) You’re 12 years old, and an immigrant in Oxford, England. Your mother is dead, and your father? Well, part of him seems to have died when she was yanked from his arms by those same people who made sure you could not stay in your homeland. Then, one night, while wandering outside, you come across a boy with strangely shining eyes fighting for his life. And little-by-little, you learn that the world you thought you knew is populated by people and things long ago forgotten, but still wielding enormous powers.
I was struck by the elegant writing of this story. The descriptions were beautiful, and not once did I feel like I was being led around by the nose. Kearney did an excellent job in letting the reader in on the secrets without hitting him/her over the head with them. The words just flowed in such a lovely way, reminding me very much of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.
Of course, the writing can always be incredible, but if the characters are meaningless, well…so will the book be. That is absolutely not the case here. Anna, and eventually Luca, are both solid characters that evoke both the sense of being a young girl on the cusp of being a woman, and a young man – both of them in one way or another “other.” Even the brief interactions with Tolkien and Lewis that Anna has are absolutely delightful, and I truly wished that there had been even just a little bit more of them in the story.
The ending of the book seemed (without giving anything away)…ambiguous. There is a definite ending, and thankfully, there is no huge cliffhanger. However, it seems like it *might* be possible for another book to follow this one should the Kearney decide to do so. I could not find any information whatsoever saying yes or no, but I can honestly say that I would love to read another book about Anna and Luca and those things that go bump in the night. However, it also is nice when an author eschews a series and just goes for a straight-up, stand-alone novel. And when said novel is written as well as this one? I’ll absolutely take it!
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with this. It’s not a fast-paced beach read by any means, but it’s certainly a lovely story to read by a fire with scones and a hot cup of tea. Just make sure you leave the lights on, and if it’s a full moon? Draw the drapes before you keep on reading…