Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be reviewing a book called ‘The Nest’ By Kenneth Oppel today! I found this novel randomly in a book sale and the cover had latched itself on to my brain and before I knew what I was doing, I placed it in the cart. And thank goodness I placed it in the cart and did not have second thoughts about it because I enjoyed this novel immensely!
The Nest is a Middle-Grade, Magical Realism novel that follows a boy named Steve whose family is going through a depressing period due to their New Born baby’s health condition and how it affects Steve’s mood as this sort of thing continues to occur.
So, without further ado, let us get into the book review!
- All thoughts and opinions are on my own and…
- The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!
For some kids, summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.
All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?
My thoughts: Introduction
Let us initiate this review by conversing on the World-building and the atmosphere of this novel. There, honestly, was not any need for world-building as this world coalesced with the real world but the landscape which I will talk more about later on in the review, was described beautifully and every scene was crafted as if they were canvases filled with wonderful art.
In addition, the atmosphere of the novel was dark and sometimes, fun. It was dark because of the materials that the author had resolved to annexe to the book and the insane approach behind new specimens producing a baby using their own way and letting the baby eat odd viands to fill their stomach to provide minerals for the body to function. It was fun because it is a middle-grade novel and the characters’ have an obnoxious and naive mindset that allows its readers to Laugh Out Loud. Therefore, I truly enjoyed the combination of dark and fun surrounding the ambience of the novel.
Furthermore, I would like to converse on the pacing of the novel. The pacing was expeditious because of the darkness and the addictive quality that the book has to it. The darkness of the book, like what we had discussed earlier, had a ting of what felt death and pain and the addictive quality of the novel had made the pages to fly through faster than it ought to be. The fonts for this novel was gigantic and the writing was easy to read and if you are a fast reader, the estimated time to finish reading this novel is 2 hours. If you are a slow reader, the estimated time to finish reading this novel is 3.5 hours.
Before we move into the final paragraph, I would like to discuss the relationship factor in the novel. The relationships between the characters are a little broken and disconnected. For example, the broken relationship between the protagonist and his family members due to the baby’s illness. Also, when Steve finally connected with someone or something that he thought was at his side to make amends to his sad life, the ‘thing’ went and stabbed him in the back. I enjoyed the portrayal of this kind of relationships in books, it showed a side of the world and widen the horizon of our imaginations.
Finally, I would appreciate bestowing some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“The baby was warm against my chest. I knew I was broken too. I wasn’t like other people. I was scared and weird and anxious and sad lots of the time, and I didn’t know why. My parents thought I was abnormal, I was pretty sure. They said I wasn’t, but you don’t get sent to a therapist if you’re normal.
Sometimes we really aren’t supposed to be the way we are. It’s not good for us. And people don’t like it. You’ve got to change. You’ve got to try harder and do deep breathing and maybe one day take pills and learn tricks so you can pretend to be more like other people. Normal people. But maybe Vanessa was right, and all those other people were broken too in their own ways. Maybe we all spent too much time pretending we weren’t.”
The above Quote is important as I will be talking more about it later in the review…
“A feeling is not a fact.”
Writing: Middle Section Of The Review
The style of writing for this novel was conversational, emphatically and articulate. Like the review that I had posted before this, we shall break down each of the styles that were used to compose this book.
This novel had more ‘tell than show’. Most of the information that we garner comes from the conversation or speech that the protagonist has with a person other than himself. I thought it was easy to read and was swiftly glimpsed through and it would appeal to a child in Primary school to easily grasp what the book was prattling about.
Furthermore, I thought this type of writing style was fantastic for a middle-grade novel and it could easily hold a child, who has no love for reading, to start reading! Thus, I enjoyed the conversational style of writing for this novel.
Here’s the definition of this distinct writing style:
Making your meaning very clear because you have very strong feelings about a situation or subject.
I had placed ‘Emphatically’ here because I thought the story was written clearly and the meaning and feelings behind the story had a clear indication and would allow younger readers to get the message on what the author was trying to say.
The description of the protagonist’s surrounding and landscape was well described. You can totally picture the main character’s house, the Queen’s nest and what the baby was feeding on. With those images in mind, it radiates off a sense of excitement and horror that will make you both squirm and widen your pupils with delight.
The writing style articulates the feelings and allows us, readers, to feel the landscape and to find it authentic. Thus, I enjoyed the writing style for this novel.
Character: 4/5 Section Of The Review
He is an eleven-year-old kid who suffered from OCD even though it was just briefly glimpsed through in the novel, it was clear that he was suffering from it because of this sentence:
At school, I drank only from some certain water fountain, and I washed my hands between every class. I also had hand sanitizer with me, just in case.
The thing that I did not really relish this novel was the fact that the mental illness was just quoted once in the book, and never again. I thought it would be ampler, since it was a children’s book, to elucidate what it is to adequately understand the terminology.
Other than that, I thought he was a strong boy who was going through the process of family depression and the battle with his mental illness. Although he did break down sometimes because it was too much for him to handle, he still continued to rise back up to his feet to fight for what is right and proceeded to live on with his life! Thus, I thought Steve was a great role model in this novel.
↠ The Queen
She was a complex character, alright. Initially, she was a warm and kind-hearted ‘angel’ or ‘wasp’, whatever, but the thing was that her motive had gradually changed over the course of the months to so-called ‘repair’ the baby so that it will be healthier and livelier.
I thought her characteristics were really well planned because it was unexpected that she was a two-faced wasp and actually did not give a crap about other people’s feelings and expectations except her own. Therefore, I enjoyed her as a character in this book!
In the course of this 244 pages novel, the parents were present most of the time and spent those page time being depressed, disappointed and afraid and it was realistic as I responded the equivalent behaviour when the baby was first acquainted as sick due to a congenital disease that threatened the child’s life.
Their sorrows and frustrations were understandable and reasonable. For example, the dad being short-tempered with Steve because he was going on about a bee sting and how it hurt and more. However, he always made up to him and announced that he was sorry for being so mean.
The mom, on the other hand, had sorrows too but was coping better than the dad. She was not short-tempered but she had times where the mention of the baby caused her to go rigid and spin which was, again, understandable, given a child of her own circumstances.
Thus, I liked the portrayal and the roles that the parents had in the book.
She is the babysitter of Steve and I thought she had a wonderfully rich history about her university life and more but it was, unfortunately, not explored. However, she did discuss her organ failures and how it might, possibly, happen again and she taught us a valuable lesson with it:
All I’m saying is, sooner or later we’re all busted-up in some way.
It meant to say that we will eventually come to an old age and our bodies will die. No matter what diseases a person had, that person is still a human and that is all that matters. No one is perfect and that’s ok.
Venessa is pretty much this only one in the novel that teaches such valuable lessons to the children and I thought it was a great way to drive the plot forward! Thus, I enjoyed her characteristic.
Overall: The Ending
I am very much in love with this novel and even though it had some minor flaws, I am willing to overlook it due to the hard-to-get enjoyment that I had experienced with this book. Thus, I shall award this novel with 90%.
This is the end of my spoiler-free review for The Nest By Kenneth Oppel! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!