Darkchylde: The Ariel Chylde Saga Kindle Edition
by R. Queen
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Some books are character driven. You want to see the character evolve, get what they want or what they deserve. Other books are plot driven. Scene to scene in a swift swish. Darkchylde is not one of those books. The reader is driven to the next sentence, the next page or the next chapter by the sheer beauty of the writing. Stunning writing at its poetic best. Mr. Queen takes prose and turns into poetry, creating images and rhythms that go together, creating a world half a step away from ours. Close in its reality but different so different in its truth
Mr. Queen has created some of the most beautiful and truthful sentences and quotes I’ve read. From Perry saying to Ariel “Optimism is necessary when confronting dragons.” to the description of Ariel’s empty home “Even the dampness of the air feels damned.” pull us into their world and their feelings in a way rarely seen.
For once the adults aren’t stupid and the kids can’t always save the day. Perry, though, has the heart and the soul of a warrior poet. His internal monologue at the beginning of Chapter 31 “Apricot” is what every woman, from 13 to 93, wants to hear. I particularly like “If she needs you lie to protect her, you do it with the roar of a lion. If that Means you break the law, you shatter it into ten thousand pieces.” Moments later, his Lancelotian rush to rescue Ariel, he is stopped, suddenly. An interesting piece of trivia, that I am sure Mr. Queen is aware of, Ariel is Hebrew for Lion of God. So, Perry has not only his own figurative lion heart, but Ariel’s lioness’s heart.
This book is part of a larger oeuvre, consisting mostly of graphic novels and comics. This explains Mr. Queen’s tragically, visceral and gorgeously created images and character.
In fact, we can see this in the horrible dreams that haunt Arial Chylde that are far more than simply bad dreams or night terrors that pass with the rising of the sun.They are part of her, allowing her to take on the forms of the monsters that chase her through her sleep. Those are not the only monsters she has to deal with. Her mother is gone, passed on. Her father might as well as have gone with her, as he is consistently drunk and not a high functioning drunk either. School offers her no sanctuaries as the rabid hyenas that seem to populate every popular crowd in every hospital are aware of her monsters and her belief they are coming from her. These kids have demoted her from one of them, one of the blessed and popular to an outcast who can no longer trust anyone. That includes her teachers and guidance counselor, to whom she has become an object of gossip.
She is counting the days until she can leave, until Perry enters her life and offers her the one things she needs, a friend. He has his own secrets. But he is willing to shoulder hers as well as his as they try to solve the mysterious deaths that are linked to Arial and her monsters.
There is an overarching theme of flying insects, beginning with Ariel freeing a monarch butterfly from an orb-weaver’s web in front of the predatory popular cliche, and receiving their mocking rage in return for her compassion. This concept of a butterfly or moth continues through the novel including one striking example as Ariel is lead to jail – Mattie’s Haunted Jail. She and the police car she rides in passes by some of the few remaining old street lights that give off an orange light and “the insects float up like souls to a sodium vapor heaven.” This these of flying monsters and flying insects go in line with the angel theme that is carried by Ariel’s mother’s necklace that she was given on her 12th birthday, the last birthday she had with her mother. These are references to Ariel’s soul and her strengths – will see allow herself to fly and fight, or will she flee.
While not driven by plot as much as a thriller, this dark fantasy’s climax and explanation of Ariel’s dark gifts is done in a cinematic way that would make one weep if James Cameron or Stephen Spielberg presented it to us. That moment, that betrayal is heart-wrenching, a moment that every daughter dreads.
In Ariel’s life, reality is as fluid and quickly changing as a dragonfly’s wing. For lovers of dark fantasy or lovers of dreams or for the reader who thirst for words to quench their literary souls, this a perfect book.
It is sad that there is only a scale of 1-5. Had it been 1-100, this would score a definite 97 or 98. Since I am limited for 1 through 5 and the writing is so amazingly stunning, cinematic, visual and visceral that I consider the text perfect in itself, I give it a 5 out of 5