The Warblers Review
Dell McDale is a fourteen year old boy dealing with the things fourteen year old boys deal with on a rural farm…..feeding livestock, making sure the house and other infrastructure is in good shape, and avoiding the terrifying bird monsters nesting in his barn.
The beauty and subtlety of Amber Fallon’s, The Warblers, lies in the simplicity in which the people that populate her vaguely southern environs treat monsters. From the outset, you will realize that there is not a whole lot of “info dump” or real exposition about the world in which young Dell McDale lives. It is rural, vaguely southern, and seemingly takes place in the 30’s---possibly the Great Depression.
The longer you read, the more these seemingly solid facts become blurred. Miss Fallon deftly weaves in tidbits of the overall world that cause readers to question where and when the story actually takes place---little crumbs that hint at a reality that might not be in the past at all.
Hints are all that remains! This does nothing to detract from the story. To the contrary, I think it adds to the mystique of a world in which monsters in the barn are treated not as some in-human evil, (beyond the knowledge of human ken) but as a nuisance no more otherworldly or extraordinary than a particularly bad case of locusts or coyotes.
The Warblers themselves are rarely, if ever seen. This adds to their subtle menace. The reader learns that they are in fact dangerous, especially to children and young animals. Young Dale is constantly worried that the beasts will devour his younger sister. It is not the unseen depredations that drive the plot but instead the means that Dale and his father will go to have them removed.
The plot drives forward at a swift pace filled with both monsters and human struggle---all while a boy is unsure of his place in the world while struggling with what he can do to help against the infestation.
I highly recommend anyone who likes the Twilight Zone or classic Goosebumps to give this a read. It is a quick one and is sure to fill your afternoon with a wonderful sense of creeping dread. It might even make you question those little noises you hear late at night.
The Warblers by Amber Fallon is available on Amazon, link to follow.