This review contains spoilers
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld explores the dark curiosity that comes with the life of a shepherd. Wyld’s writing is rather desolate and raw, but not in a tasteless way. However, in many instances in the story, the scenes she paints begin to lose their substance; the events that take place are more illusionary and fleeting than what you’d expect from a conceivable thriller. Her penmanship, on the other hand, is a different story; Wyld’s prose is incredibly gripping, and she does such a wonderful job at illustrating the stream of consciousness of her protagonist, Jack Whyte, that it feels like the reader is just as much prey to the unseen beast that’s stalking her livestock.
As much as I enjoyed Wyld’s writing and her way with keeping up with the book’s suspense factor, I’m not sure I can say I was satisfied with how it ended. There were so many unexplained mysteries behind each chapter (which also seemed to drag on endlessly), and most of which were never revisited by the book’s end. I did not understand what led to Jake’s tumultuous childhood, or whether Otto was really, in fact, Jake’s uncle, and for a great deal of the book it seemed as though the mythical beast stalking her home became a mere backdrop of Jack’s troubled beginnings. Lastly, how does Lloyd’s character make any sense of it all, and was his presence even necessary at all?
These were the unanswered questions I wished had been addressed before the book’s end. Of course, everything about what happens in the end is just plain speculation, which may or may not be more reason to dislike this story as a whole.
I didn’t mind learning of Jack’s background but it seemed to overshadow what I felt was the bigger part of the bigger: Who or What was responsible for killing so many of her sheep? Of course, by the end, we understand that it was some omniscient, God-like presence to blame; I don’t know about you, but I felt that ending wasn’t good enough for me. In some selfish way, I felt jaded by that ending and it’s not because I was hoping to see what It was that was stalking her, but because it didn’t make any sense.
If she were going to take that angle, with the omniscient predator, then there should have been more of a focus on Jake’s determination to find out what the beast was once and for all. It would have made for a much better substitute than juggling between Jake’s past and present life; if anything, that made the ending more of a blur than the compelling cliffhanger it tried to be.
If that doesn’t tell you how I felt about this book: I was so upset with the ending that I wound up returning the book to the place of purchase for a refund.