October 19, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

Tell The Story To Its End by Simon P. Clark • October 20, 2015 • St. Martin’s Griffin
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People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad isn’t there, too. Why hasn’t he come with them? Has something happened? Why won’t anyone talk about it? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic…

Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.

With Eren to listen, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening. But Eren is powerful, and though he’s willing to help Oli, he’s not willing to do it for free; he wants something in return. Oli must make a choice: he can learn the truth — but to do so he must abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever.

From striking new voice Simon P. Clark comes Tell the Story to Its End; richly atmospheric, moving, unsettling, and told in gorgeous prose, it is a modern classic in the making.

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I received this book for free from St. Martin’s Griffin for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: ‘Tell the story to its end,’ says Eren with a grin.

What’s in a story? What makes them so good and important? Tell The Story To Its Ends not only discusses that, but it spins a surreal web that will eventually confuse Oli where he won’t know up from down, or left from right, or reality or fantasy. He’ll only know stories.

Quick “what is this book about”? An ominous Middle Grade about stories with magical realism elements.

What is Oli’s situation? Something terrible has happened in London, so Oli’s mother has taken Oli away to the countryside to escape from it. We don’t know about what happened until two-thirds in the book, but we just know that whatever happened involves his father.

How does Oli adjust to the countryside? Not well. Readers can sense Oli’s unrest and yearning for his father and for London. He makes a couple of friends, but he’s still so lost because he’s not being told about what happened. Any kid will find Oli’s situation to be relatable; it’s not easy to leave behind the everything you’ve ever known and being kept in the dark with what’s going on.

Who lives in the attic? Beware of what lives in the attic. You know nothing ever good comes from the attic. For Oli, he finds an ancient creature, Eren, who has been waiting there for Oli. All he wants is Oli to tell stories, and once Oli starts, Eren sucks Oli deep into his world. It’s creepy and confusing.

What does it say about stories? Stories make the world go round. Tell The Story To Its End emphasizes the importance it has on people’s life by having Eren acting as a guide of sorts to Oli. Stories have a lot of power that can trap you in its web, which is exactly what Eren does with Oli by having him tell them. It’s never-ending, and easy to lose yourself into because it’s a truth as well as a way to entertain or escape. It tells kids about the value of stories, and that’s so important to know.

What kinds of stories are told? Throughout the book, Oli is constantly telling stories to Eren, who seems to depend on them to live, and you also hear stories told by some of the other characters in the book. You get to read about the three little pigs, a little girl looking for her magical chef father, and an apple orchard lord and a fallen star. Like Eren or Oli, you will be captivated by these stories, and you’ll want to know how it ends. I sure did, and I wanted more.

Book comparison: I can see a bit of A Monster Calls in this. A young boy trying to come to terms with the unknown. Ominous world with an ancient creature who demands something from the boy.

Surprise art: There are a few illustrations throughout the book, and although they were sparse, they were a nice surprise. I liked seeing the ominous scenes.

My issues with the story:

  • I had a hard time connecting with Oli. I certainly understood what he was going through, but did I care? Not really.
  • It was a bit confusing, especially towards the end. Everything culminated to that, and well, I feel a bit let down. I had expected something different—something that would’ve made sense.
  • I wanted more about Eren’s lore. What is he exactly? Where did he come from? Why does he need to live off of stories? I still wasn’t quite sure what was the truth or the lie in the stories he told.

Do I recommend Tell The Story To Its End? Yes. It’s a good book that talks about how valuable and powerful stories are, and it makes you reflect on why we read stories in the first place.

gradeB


 

One Response to “REVIEW | What’s in a story? (Tell The Story To Its End by Simon P. Clark)”

  1. Wow, this looks so intriguing! I was excited to try it out until I read that it’s MG… I feel like from what you said in your review, if it was for an older audience it might have been more detailed and more involving story? I haven’t read A Monster Calls, but I heard they are making a movie of it, so I think I’ll try to read that one first. :) Great review Cee!


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