Today I turn my mind to The Nest, Kenneth Oppel's latest opus (I like the ring of that). I am a friend of Ken's but, more importantly, I'm a fan of his work (Skybreaker and Silverwing being two of my favourites along with Half Brother). I'm often late to the bandwagon and this book definitely has a bandwagon: starred reviews galore, a glowing NY Times review, and general accolades and buzz (forgive the use of that word considering the book features magical wasps). It's completely deserving. It's one of those books that sneaks into your subconscious word by word and before you know it you are feeling those palpations of fear that you thought only Hitchcock could produce. Young Steve is the narrator of the story. His family is dealing with the arrival into the family of a child with an unknown cognitive disability. There are hospital visits and severe health complications to deal with. At about that same time Steve, after being bitten by a wasp, begins to be visited in his dreams by a wasp queen who promises to "help" with the baby. I won't say much more than that--other than you probably shouldn't accept the help of a wasp queen. This is spine tingling and skin crawling at its finest. But the book asks important (and disturbing) questions about what is normal. What would you do to "fix" a child with disabilities. As a father of a child with disabilities, this book nails those first weeks of angst and fear and not understanding why all of this happened and how to deal with it bang on. Read The Nest. Not just for the chills. But for the way the book makes you think.
What would you do if the queen of wasps offered help?