Disturbing yet hypnotic, I was instantly drawn to Kenneth Oppel’s audio book “The Nest.” The master storyteller reeled me in as I listened, unsettled, yet mesmerized. Here’s a young adult crossover with appeal to those who relish a brilliantly imagined novel with a universal theme.
Actor/ filmmaker Gibson Frazier narrates “The Nest,” cleverly portraying a handful of characters. The inflections in his voice are formidable as steps into the role of innocent Stephen and his nemesis, a beguiling female who magnetizes the child with a gentle, velvety voice of compassion and kindness. Her species is best left for readers to discover for themselves.
“The Nest” is horror at its finest—like many classics in that genre it features a lonely child, unsure and frightened, unable to go to an adult for help. Stephen is a vulnerable boy, beset with anxiety, a child who suffers from nightmares and sees a terrifying form at the foot of his bed, a reoccurring vision that causes him continued distress.
Stephen’s parents know about his anxiety but are consumed with worry about their newborn son Theo, a baby with “broken parts” a heart that will require surgery as soon as he is strong enough to undergo an operation.
With his family’s attention directed elsewhere, Stephen has yet another night visitor—this one comforting, a voice Stephen initially believes is coming from an angel. The ethereal presence gradually reels Stephen in before offering him a fix to his family’s problem, a way out that only Stephen can provide. All is has to do is say “yes” to her solution.
If Stephen will cooperate, his baby brother will end up being “perfect,” and who doesn’t want “perfect” in their lives, she asks. Caught in the clutches of a horrific situation, Stephen wavers, in a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat—an eerie story in which evil springs from the most unlikely of characters, as does redemption.