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Silent

Review

Silent

SILENT is David Mellon’s first novel although he has been working in film and television for years. Mellon’s story focuses on the journey of one young girl, Adi, as she embarks on an unexpected journey to save the two people she may resent most. Adi encounters people and places she never dreamed of when growing up in a small town in India. As her life begins to spiral into one seriously twisted game of hide and seek, Adi must face a world amidst imminent turmoil during WWI to find what’s been taken from her.

When Mellon’s story begins, Adi finds herself in France and responsible for her twin half-brothers. Before trouble found her, Adi lived in India with two female caretakers. When Adi was eight, her mother, a nurse, died of cholera while on duty. Her father, a British soldier, visited less and less frequently as the years went on. Adi later learns her parent’s marriage was not the fairy tale she had grown up believing it was. Because of their differing ethnicities, their relationship was heavily disapproved of. The reality of their relationship was presented to Adi when her father on one of his visits reveals that he has married another British woman. In addition, he tells her the new couple has twins.

"Placing the story within the context of WWI...added both an educational level and creativity to the text. It’s always fun to imagine different possibilities and stories behind prominent events in history as Mellon craftily provides in SILENT."

When the boys are older, Adi’s father decides she is to travel with them to France to live with his mother. Upon the children’s arrival, they learn their grandmother has died en route to pick them up, leaving Adi solely responsible for the two. Adi quickly finds a job in a restaurant where trouble eventually finds her in the form of a young man named Coal who is obsessed with starting a war. He instructs Adi to deliver a poisoned bottle of Cognac to a table of high-ranking officials in the hopes of framing her. However, Adi drops the bottle before it reaches the lips of anyone. As a result, Coal devises a game to punish Adi for ruining his plans.

Coal burns down Adi’s grandmother’s house and kidnaps the twins. Adi is distraught as Coal instructs her on how his game will work. He gives her a pocket watch with four riddles to help her find the twins. Adi is also restricted from speaking or writing while in pursuit of her brothers, which turns out to be more troublesome than she expects. Although most people mistake Adi for a beggar, she runs into George, an affluent man from a prominent family despite his drunkard appearance, who does everything he can to help her. However, meeting George and his family is just the first in a series of tumultuous events that occur over several years as Adi’s search for her half brothers unfolds.

Mellon’s story takes readers on an unexpected journey filled with one twist after another. While the concept behind SILENT is interesting and exciting, the plot was not concrete and seamless enough to grab my full attention. Things seemed to happen and conclusions were made without a lot of explanation behind them. I would have liked more character development although the dynamic of Adi’s character added a lot to the story for me. I would have also liked more imagery in the writing because at times I felt a bit lost. Placing the story within the context of WWI, which was one of my favorite aspects, added both an educational level and creativity to the text. It’s always fun to imagine different possibilities and stories behind prominent events in history as Mellon craftily provides in SILENT.

Reviewed by Catherine Rubino on March 31, 2017

Silent
by David Mellon