30. The Whisper King by Wil Radcliffe

Tuesday 6 October 2015

My name is David Kinder. And this is my story... every goddamn bloodstained
word of it.

About 25 years ago when I was six my parents died in a car crash. I was
bounced around a few state homes until they finally settled me at Meripitt
Hill, an orphanage just outside of Lansing, Michigan. It was there that the
shadows started visiting me. Not normal shadows. These shadows moved on
their own accord, and whispered strange, alien things to me. Scared the piss
out of me.

While not my usual tipple of fiction to indulge in, the opening lines of The Whisper King drew me straight in. The language and dark fantasy elements it presents threw me straight back to my days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sin City. 
The language is harsh, violent and it really works for the run of the book. While I would normally find the language used uncouth, and would be put off, Radcliffe artfully weaves his tale, and I don't think it would have quite been the same had he of played it safe. 
David has had a tough hand dealt to him. He's an orphan, and resides in an orphanage. His one solace is his best friend Donna, who is cruelly torn away from him when she is is adopted by a new family, and poor David never sees her again. David has a potty mouth, and if any child of mine spoke like that I'd be sure to make him rule the day I ever caught him, but then I remember the hand dealt to David, and suddenly it isn't so shocking, and I see it for the defense mechanism it truly is.
The shadows call to David, and once what seemed nothing more than a childhood fantasy quickly becomes something from a real life nightmare as two worlds collide. The Whisper King sees something in David, he recognizes his talent for killing and the darkness within. David gives over to his inner 'Cuthach' and proves to be entirely resilient and productive.
David isn't immune to getting in over his head in Shadow Mountain, and I find this to be a very humanizing aspect of his character which kept me with him through his journey. Ultimately rejecting the plan the Whisper King has for him, David is in fact an antihero, and it leaves the plot open for further installments. 
As I state in my opening paragraph, this isn't something I would usually choose to pick up, being completely out of my comfort zone, however the synopsis really drew me in. Hard hitting and controversial in places this book really does takes no prisoners. The book isn't long, and I quickly found myself speeding through it like a women possessed. I needed to find out what was going to happen to David. This is a testament to the writers ability. 
I feel that it is better suited to those who do not seek more of a moral background to this story, and that perhaps it is aimed at males, rather than females (unless of course they are into this type of storytelling!) - although I am glad I gave this a go. It has flexed my creative muscles and the characterizations are creative and well thought through. 
I would have also preferred the book to be slightly longer to answer questions that required more clarification than I perceived, however I do think this would detract from Radcliffe's target reader group. I require more of an emotional tie to characters, and further background info, and this has directly influenced the rating I have given this book. It was enjoyable to inhabit a different world, but ultimately this was not for me. 

Rating : 3.5/5

Thank you to Book Bear and to Wil Radcliffe for sending me a hard copy of his book. 
Where to buy:
Apple Link
Barnes & Noble
Kobo Link
For further stops on this tour be sure to check to BookBear website

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