I am of the sea.
I am of instability.
I am of harsh, choppy waves roiling with all the up-ness, down-ness, top-ness, bottom-ness contained within my being.
I am of charm and strange.
Charm & Strange is a beautifully written novel. However, it strangely reminded me of Withered by Lauren DeStefano. Meaning that while I loved the writing and language, I failed to connect with and enjoy the story. I also feel like I may have enjoyed it more had I been able to read this in one sitting. As it was, I read between 1/3 and 1/2, was then unable to read for several days, and then finished it up over the course of the day. I believe this interruption ruined the flow of the novel a bit for me.
This novel is about a boy who believes there is a wolf inside him. The narrative switches between the present with sixteen year old Win and the past with nine year old Drew. These alternating views flow nicely together and keep the story moving along. They were never difficult to follow and I really enjoyed that aspect. The last section of the book, “After,” seemed a little brief especially when compared with the “Before,” but this didn’t bother me as much as I was expecting. The tension and slow reveal are what make up this story. It was more a story about the journey than the destination.
So while this novel didn’t live up to what I was expecting, it was still a good read, which I would probably recommend especially given its length (just over 200 pages!) And I do look forward to any future books Ms. Kuehn happens to write.
But I haven’t lost everything.
Somewhere, somehow, adrift in the sea and far from the stars, I’ve found faith.
And that makes all the difference.