Book Review! The Trouble with Nightingale by Amaleen Ison
The only trouble I had with nightingale was that it was too short.
It took me, *maybe* an hour to read as was a nice filler, while, of all things, G-Force played on the t.v. for my kids. This is significant, IF you read the book, but, I shan’t tell you why it’s important.
Amaleen is a very descriptive writer who paints a very vivid and grotesque set of scenes with her characters. Now, because this is a short, there isn’t much character development, and that’s part of the reason I can’t give it the super high stars. found a few of the scenes contrived, but that’s only because Amaleen didn’t have time, in a short, to build in the who, what, where, when and why to make those few moments believable.
For example, Millie ‘accepts’ her role as hell’s gatekeeper far too quickly because there is no room, in a short, to build in more negative consequences and conflict before she makes that choice. But, shortly before that moment, she openly exclaimed how she’d never had any choice in life and so when she just ‘accepts’, it’s hard to believe. We just have to accept, too. The same with her ability to wield magic right after Angel tells her she needs to learn.
Don’t get me wrong, these issues would have been believable with a bit more build up. That being said, keeping in mind this is written to BE a short, it’s important to set aside some of what we think is reality and let the moment ‘just happen’.
The other issue I had is that the main character, Millie, is supposed to be eighteen and thus make this a YA story. But her voice is far older, and Millie experiences nothing in life that is key to teenagers. Just because a story has a main character who is a teenager, doesn’t make the story YA (in my opinion). In Millie’s case, her life is beyond that of teens. She’s already working, making a home, making a life. This is one of those things that could have been ‘dealt’ with if the story were longer — we could have seen more about what she dealt with in life.
If, however, we take into account this was MEANT to be a short, then it’s a great(!) short. Millie has a singular focus, and she’s got to overcome a few obstacles to find out both who she is, how to make it all work and what it holds for her future.
Mrs. Cruikshank is an absolutely gruesome character, and Fabian is beyond funny. The combination of horror and comedy gave me several laugh out loud moments and quite a few more involuntary smiles as I read.
Looking for a quick read? This ones a good one … just don’t read it if you’ve just moved into a brand new apartment, on the 10th floor of a complex that has quite a few very odd smells.