Drawn Kindle Edition
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|Length: 446 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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I became involved with the internal world of each character despite the fact that the ending was inevitable--evil gets defeated, and the good guys come out on top, better off even though they've gone through hell in this world first. What I wanted to know was how, and Hankins pulls that off with a plot that has more than a few twists and turns.
Let's look at how Hankins' characters motivated me to keep turning the pages:
"Alice Norville had no idea what the boy [in the painting she was showing to an art instructor whose class she desperately wanted to take to further her skills] was pointing at. She didn't even remember painting him....Yet, there he was, carefully rendered in acrylics in her own hand, one of several kids playing in the park." I wondered how Alice could do this. And, when the boy emerges again and again in different paintings, my conclusion is that she didn't paint him in. So who did? I wanted to know. Later, we discover this about Alice, "...she had to admit she was lonely. If she held a traditional job, she might have found friends through it...." ("All the lonely people, where do they all come from?")
"Boone Forrester sat where he always sat at the end of the bar, where the smooth, shiny mahogany met the cheap pine paneling. No one could sit to his right. He never sat anywhere else. If this seat was occupied when he came in, Kenny the bartender politely asked whoever was sitting there to find another stool..." Why? Why would a bartender do this for a customer? I had to know. Later, I gradually discover that Boone is a severe agoraphobic and has isolated himself, physically and emotionally and desperately needs to be in touch with other human beings. Boone is driven from his home by a paranormal force and against all odds finally manages to cross the street and begin his quest to seek personal redemption. ("All the lonely people, where do they all come from?")
[The salesperson with whom elderly Nathan Zeltner was conversing] "couldn't know that Nathan's soundtrack was the hum of his refrigerator and persistent drip from a bathroom faucet. He didn't want to add the lonely incessant ticking of a clock." There have been times in my life when I've been lonely, and I identified with this behavior. When Nathan is driven to find his adult son, who may still be alive, he will eventually be drawn into the lives of the other hero Miguel Ortiz and the villain, Larry Catrell. ("All the lonely people, where do they all belong?")
Miguel Ortiz is a 12-year old who has been living on the streets of Philadelphia for the last two years because he ran away from his family to avoid abuse. Only, he never thought life on streets would be as hard or as lonely as it was. He went home, but his family had moved. He is truly on his own when we meet him, "I saw it first."/"The hell you did."/"The hell you didn't. Let go."/ "But Miguel wasn't about to let go. He hadn't eaten since he'd given his best puppy eyes to a well-dressed couple outside of a Dunkin Donuts that morning and they'd given him a big handful of change. Not enough for a breakfast sandwich, but enough for a doughnut and orange juice." ... "So Miguel would be damned if he was going to let go of the McDonald's bag he'd rescued from a trash can. From the weight of it, he guessed there was half a sandwich of some kind inside, maybe a cheeseburger..."
So here we have it, four characters each lonely in a different way, each needing to reconnect with humanity to save themselves, drawn together by circumstances and the paranormal.
In essence, this book is about this bit of advice that Alice's mother gave her about her unhappy marriage. "If you're happy, great, you're happy, and if you're sad, then maybe you're sad enough to do something about it, to make whatever changes you need to make. But if you're somewhere in the middle, well, then you may just keep doing what you're doing."
I find the characters memorable, like characters in Koontz's Strangers, particularly Dominic Corvaisis whom I still think about years after having read the book.
Hankins wrings some very real chills from Drawn, but this isn't a horror novel. It's ominous and sinister at times, It's more of a "how will they" fix things? How will the world be made right? How will the bad guy, Larry, get his comeuppance? If you're looking for a character-driven story with chilling elements and a dash of the paranormal, you'll enjoy Drawn.
This is the third Hankins book that I've read, and they're all different. My personal favorite is Brothers and Bones. I recommend Drawn as well as Jack of Spades, and I look forward to reading more Hankins.
Another step up from Brothers and Bones is characterization. It blossomed in Drawn. This is hard, because getting a grip on good characterization while trying to tell it in four different perspectives can't be easy - someone is going to get short changed. The book started out in the perspective of the artist, Alice. She kept seeing a boy in her work and ended up following the boy. For me, Alice was the weakest of the characters, and at one point in the story she did something that made me not like her at all. It felt uncharacteristic after leading me to believe a certain way about her. I didn't have faith in her after that.
Miguel felt a little stereotyped, but it didn't matter because he had my sympathy simply because he was a kid who needed saving. I wanted to save him throughout the story and Miguel was over half the reason I finished the book. He was the sympathy turning the pages.
Nathan, the elderly widower reminded me of a Winslow Homer painting completely finished, beautiful touches on him. He had a fantastic back-story.
Boone, the agoraphobic, became my favorite character. Other than Miguel, he made me finish the other half of the book. He wasn't exactly fearless throughout danger, but the journey to becoming brave was heartwarming especially when everything stood in his way. Boone in a way reminded me of Bones from Brothers and Bones, so I could have been reminiscing a bit. Anyways, Boone started out afraid to leave his city block, and he is partially blind. All of these obstacles stood like a tower and Boone needed to fight a big bad wolf to save Miguel - talk about a house made of straw.
I won't say whether this horror/thriller tale has a happy ending without spoiling it, but I will say there is a twist bringing these four together that is unexpected. James Hankins makes it worth your time.
This was an enjoyable read and Mr. Hankins writes well. I will probably read more from him in the future.
Update: At the time of the original review I had missed a key detail in the book while originally reading it. After a discussion with James Hankins, the author, (via his website email) I went back and re-read a portion of the book and am amazed how I missed the detail in the first place (possibly the late night oil). I updated from a 4 star rating to a 5 star based upon the second reading. A well written book by a very good author who cares about both his books and his readers.