I have become a fan of William Meikle over the last couple of years and have been a fan of DarkFuse since before it was DarkFuse, so I was excited when I got a copy of “The Exiled” and patiently waited for my To Be Read pile to be whittled down so that I could read the book. That time finally arrived and I was happy to dig into the story.
John Granger is a detective that finds himself caught up in the middle of a case in which children are seemingly disappearing with no evidence left behind except for the mangled remains of black swans. John’s brother, Alan, is a reporter that is slowly piecing the tangled threads of the disappearances into what he believes to be a single line that could link the disappearances and lead to the mystery’s dark secret. The only problem is that no one is likely to believe the secret that he uncovers.
In order to solve the crimes, the brothers find themselves drawn into another world in which they meet the Exiled and battle monsters of Faerie. There is something much greater at stake here than just the lives of a handful of children and they must rise to the task to not only save this alternate dimension but their own world as well.
It is difficult to classify the type of story that “The Exiled” is. It is definitely a non-traditional hybrid of a story that bends or breaks many conventions as the story rolls along and this may not appeal to some readers. There are definite horror themes in the story but there are also a lot of other things going on here such as a bit of a crime procedural as well as definite fantasy themes including fairy tale monsters. This story is one that had to be extremely difficult to write without veering too far off on a tangent that would lose sight of the final goal of the tale and Meikle handles the story with an expert touch that keeps it on target throughout. While I was already acquainted with Meikle’s writing talent, this horrific CSI fairy tale shows Meikle showing his mastery of the written word and can be appreciated for the quality of the storytelling without the actual enjoyment of the story being factored in.
With all of that being said about the craftsmanship of this story, this is not one of my favorite Meikle novels as the story just did not work for me as well as some of his other works. While I enjoyed the book, I just could never get completely invested in the story. This was to me more of a movie watching experience: I could enjoy the story and the talent needed to create it but I just could not get emotionally involved with the characters or the story. “The Exiled” is something that is very different from most other stories and this also means that it will speak to some readers more than others. Meikle proves that he is definitely in the upper echelon of talented writers today and I can only hope that he continues to push his talent in new directions as he does in “The Exiled.”
I would like to thank DarkFuse and NetGalley for this advanced review copy. “The Exiled” is scheduled to be released by DarkFuse in July and is available for preorder now.