Monday, May 13, 2013

The Silhouette (Alan Quinn and the Second Lifes #1) by Thomas William Shaw


The Silhouette
The Silhouette (Alan Quinn and the Second Lifes #1) by Thomas William Shaw


Goodreads Summary

As far back as Alan Quinn can remember, his family has been on the move. It isn't until they find a house in Ashton, Kansas that Alan feels he can finally call a place home. Three weeks later, his father disappears, leaving him alone to be raised by his mother who quickly gives up on the search  for her missing husband. Distraught, Young Alan Quinn takes it upon himself to take things into his own hands. On the search, he meets local friends, the LeCarre's, a new dog, Peaches, and a mysterious new ally named Darius who appears to know more than he leads on. Together, they bring Alan closer to the answers he seeks and awakens a species his father only described in the stories Alan grew up hearing: The Silhouettes.

Nitza's review

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to see this book through. I was having difficulty grasping the whole dream study concept. Once the action picked up, however, and more things were explained, I was engrossed enough to see it through. And the ending was a complete surprise. One of those endings where who you thought was good isn't and you're left thinking, what just happened.

Alan Quinn has lived the life that many military children have lived; constantly being uprooted and moved from place to place, many times with very little notice. However, Alan is not a military child. His father, Reese Quinn, is employed by a mystery man who provides him with unlimited funds for dream studies and "to further explore his field." The reason that they move so often is because of a clause in Reese's contract that allows him to move from a location at any time if he felt uneasy about the location for whatever reason. As Alan points out, this is not the best offer for Reese because he had a tendency to get uneasy about everything from the candles on Alan's birthday cake going out (which he claimed was the work of an invisible person) to believing that new neighbors were spying on him. On top of that, his father had a group of men (called "dream chasers") that followed them from location to location who were just as paranoid as Reese. They would meet on weeknights and discussed dreams they had. Reese's dreams were the most bizarre of the group as they included dragons, a magical city, and shadow people he referred to as Silhouettes. 

The last meeting Reese had with the "dream chasers", his dream took a realistic turn. He now believed that the Silhouettes were out to recruit Alan. The next morning, Alan awoke to find his father gone. 

Within weeks of his disappearance, Alan's mother gives  up on the search and turns to wine for companionship. But Alan refuses to give up. His search introduces him to a variety of strange characters and Alan learns more about Reese than he ever knew. With every discovery, Alan's world turns upside down and he realizes that Reese may not be as crazy as Alan always believed. 

Even though this is a relatively short novel, the beginning was a bit slow, at least to me. Alan basically explains his life traveling from place to place and about his father's dream studies and dreams. When he first describes Reese's "job" and the dreams he claims to have, I said okay this is a little too out there for me. But once Alan meets up with Darius, Reese's employer, the story picks up as Alan's world changes. All the events that happen to Alan and every new piece of information that is revealed kept me turning pages. 

One thing I enjoyed about the setting of the book is the town that Alan currently resides, Ashton, Kansas. It has so many references to Alice in Wonderland from street and business names to decorations. I think this was interesting because as all of the events unfold, Alan probably feels very similar to Alice. That he has somehow fallen down a rabbit hole in his search for his dad and is now in Wonderland. 

I rate this book only 3 birdies because even though in the end I didn't end up hating it, I didn't love it either. It's interesting and definitely different than anything else I've read, but I wasn't overly impressed by it. I won't overwhelmingly recommend it, but if you are into this type of bizarre fantastic novel, then it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot. 

--Nitza

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