There hadn’t always been something wrong with Briella Blake, but when she’s invited to attend Parkhaven, a private school for extremely gifted students, the girl’s wicked genius begins to manifest itself in ways her mother can no longer deny are…strange.
Briella’s friendship with a raven, Onyx, that’s equally as smart as she is, prompts her mother to restrict the animal from Briella’s company. Soon Marian learns that nothing can stop her daughter from interacting with the bird, who seems to have become an integral part of the girl’s experiments into the possibilities of recording and recreating personality and memory. Also the existence of angels, the afterlife and the soul. Marian’s pregnancy with a sibling Briella doesn’t want spurs the girl into a frenzied activity of experiments and desperation. Soon, it’s impossible for Marian to ignore that although there hadn’t always been something wrong with Briella, something is certainly wrong with her, now.
Certainly even a child genius can’t be blamed for the unexpected deaths and sickness surrounding her. Even the idea that the raven has become some kind of paranormal instigator of tragedy is too ridiculous and idea for Marian to entertain. With a difficult pregnancy sapping her strength, it’s all Marian can do to keep herself out of the hospital, much less torture herself with worry about the daughter who’s never caused trouble before. A mother’s worst nightmare might be something terrible happening to her child – but what happens when the terrible thing IS the child?
Release date: 14th February 2019
This book isn’t quite what I expected – I imagined fantasy and strong paranormal/sci-fi themes but this book is actually more about the strains of parenthood and the relationships between the four main characters – Marian, mother of Briella (morbid child genius); her husband and her ex (father of her child).
I’m not sure everyone will get the same message from this book, but for me everything the little girl does is influenced heavily by the adults in her life and the way they treat her.
They all seem to refer to her as ‘the kid’ despite giving the appearance of caring about her, they let the fact she’s a bit weird affect the way they treat her and I found myself feeling sad for her.
The pacing of this book was really good and a lot of the twists and turns were unpredictable – I think the beauty of this book is that it’s a puzzle, forcing the reader decide the accountability of the different characters.
I really enjoy the author’s subtle and original approach to the creepy-kid trope, it’s one of my favourites (because kids can be creepy as balls, don’t try to deny it!). This is one of those books that will stay with me a long time!