When one of your closest friends suggests a book to you and swears that it is “TOTALLY BITCHIN’”, you know you must go out and purchase that book, right? Well that is what happened to me when April suggested that I check out The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell, and I can assure you that once again she knows exactly what she is talking about. Girl has amazing taste in books! I should probably mention that this recommendation came before I joined Good Books and Good Wine as co-blogger which just goes to show you how carefully I listened to April’s recommendations even before I entered the world of book blogging. Anyway, now it’s my turn to put my thoughts on this book down, and I am so excited to do so. Why you ask? Because truthfully The Aviary is simply divine!
The main character of The Aviary is twelve-year-old Clara Dooley. She has spent her whole life confined to the Glendoveer mansion where her mother is a servant to the very kind and elderly matron of the house. Clara has been confined to the grand estate due to a mysterious heart condition but normally she doesn’t mind it. It’s actually a pretty comfortable quiet life except for the creepy birds in that aviary out back that always seem to be squawking. Growing up, Clara never had any reason to question her life but now that she’s a bit older, she’s getting restless. She’s tired of being alone all the time. She wants a REAL friend that she can visit and share secrets with. She wants to go outside. Oh, and she wants to know WHY the birds are squawking all the time. Especially when she swears that one actually spoke to her saying the word “Elliot”. But birds can’t talk, can they? Or can they? How is this connected to the fact that the Glendoveer’s youngest child was named Elliot? WHAT does all of that mean?
The writing for The Aviary is gorgeous. I’m serious about this. It has a vibrant old school gothic feeling to it which you can become easily wrapped up in. Major kudos to Kathleen O’Dell. You are able to guess a few of the things regarding the mystery but, there are still a few twists and turns which you do not expect. It is all exquisitely woven together, and provides a very strong frame work for the characters to interact within. Speaking of the characters all of them have such a strong foundation. There is not a weak character in the group! They all have their own personalities, and sense of drive and direction, and they were wonderful to read about.
Another thing that was wonderful about The Aviary was the pacing of the story. I was never bored with this story. Even though it took me a while to read due to my work schedule at the time, whenever I did get a chance to read it, I never wanted to put it down because just like Clara I wanted to solve the mystery of the Glendoveer mansion and the birds and find out if she was able to set things right. Also, speaking of the Glendoveer mansion, I loved the description of the mansion and the surrounding area. It really left me with a gothic feel that resonated with me through out the entire novel.
If you’re looking for a magnificent middle grade book filled with mystery, magic, and a lesson on the value of a good solid friendship, I highly recommend The Aviary to you. I honestly feel that you will not regret picking this book up and giving it a chance. I know I don’t!
Disclosure: Purchased copy
Other Reviews of The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell:
April’s Review: “The Aviary is fan-fricken-tastic.”
The Book Smugglers: “Oh my, The Aviary is lovely.”