Blog Tour + ARC Book Review: The Only Child by Andrew Pyper
ashley | Andrew Pyper sent chills down my spine with The Demonologist, and then again with The Damned. He has this way of writing creepy things that lurk in the shadows and taking you on a wild run away from them to the depths of the darkest places. I was eager to take this journey again with his new book, The Only Child.
I was drawn into this story almost immediately. A mysterious client shows up in an asylum wanting to speak with Dr. Lily Dominick, a client who seems to know a lot about Lily, and more importantly, her past and dead mother. What starts as innocent intrigue becomes slight obsession as Lily abandons her life and follows this client, who eventually we come to know as Michael, on a hunt across Europe and even into Canada in search of answers to Lily’s questions. This hunt, of course, only creates more questions, not just for Lily but for us, the reader. Is Michael who (or what) he claims he is? Are these other people after Lily who they claim they are? Who can you trust?
I liked Lily as a character, I could see myself in her, which allowed me to be able to connect to and root for her. I did think she trusted certain people a little too easily given her circumstances and I questioned a few of her choices, but she was also on a crazy journey and I’m not sure anyone can think clearly in that state.
Michael was a mix of creature somewhat familiar, yet also all its own. What I love about Pyper is that he seems to make mild allusions to other pieces of literature in his work, giving homage to some of literature’s greats. This time around, he pulls from Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and of course, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I loved this inclusion, but I also thought it stripped this Michael creature of its own entity, thus making it a little less creepy than it possibly could be.
There’s a strong sense of family through the book, Lily being so strongly tied to her mother and her mother’s death, along with Michael’s involvement in her life. It bleeds into the hereditary traits we can’t necessarily escape and the betrayal that punches all that much harder when it’s family.
I read this in almost one sitting; it was definitely an intriguing and creepy story, though with two other books under my belt to compare to, this didn’t quite pull me into its depths as I was hoping for. It seemed to just sort of touch on the surface and towards the end, laid itself out all too clearly before the ultimate climax, making this more of an anti-climactic ending for me. However, Pyper has a talent with monsters and as long as they continue to knock on my door, I will open it.