I was able to get through Tim Wynne-Jones’ The Ruinous Sweep with great impatience. It was slow, and frankly, so weird. So I approached this book with trepidation. Thankfully, this was far from his 2018 release. Firstly, it wasn’t as verbose, nor as dense. It was a straight forward story telling that The Ruinous Sweep severely lacked. As well, this novel isn’t as ambitious as that Dante retelling.
Four months after his best friend disappeared, Nate is suddenly plagued with nightmares. Dodge, his best friend, was like a ghost or a restless soul that kept appearing in his dreams, pleading for Nate to find him. It is Spring in northern Ontario and winter has barely left, but he was confident enough in his survival skills to trek through the frozen landscape to the cabins both their families owned. It is where Dodge’s entire family perished and where he hoped to find Dodge. The bodies of his father and his brother were found, frozen and drowned. Dodge’s however, wasn’t. He was meant to go with someone else on this pilgrimage, but when his classmate was grounded, he decided to go on his own without the knowledge of his parents. It was a costly decision that would not only threaten his life, he would also come face to face with a family secret he thought was long buried.
He was in a race against a brewing blizzard, and the elements that was far from forgiving. With only two days to do what he set out to do, finding the cabins occupied by escaped convicts was not his idea of a good time. Now, not only is he pressed for time and the storm that was coming, he was also fighting for his life.
This was a fast pace read; it took me a day to finish it. Wynne-Jones’ writing didn’t let up from beginning to end. And though, I saw the twist from the get-go, it was still fun to see come to fruition. If you’re looking for an honest to goodness thrilling read, The Starlight Claim fits that bill. Bonus: the author perfectly captures the ambiance of frozen Canada and the coziness (if you can feel cozy whilst being hunted) of the cabin life.