The Stars Did Wander Darkling


The Stars Did Wander Darkling is a spooky, unsettling thriller, reminiscent of the classic Cold War sci-fi thriller movies of the 1950’s.  Perhaps 13-year old Archie has been influenced by watching too many of those movies at the local video store where he often hangs out.

For Archie, everything seems to be taking on a sinister edge.  He sees strangers lurking under street lamps and hears the persistent sound of an axe chopping in the middle of the night.  The sleepy town of Seaham had until recently been just that – sleepy. Nothing much happened until his dad’s construction company opened up the cliff beneath the old – some say cursed – old house. Now, the town’s adults are acting very strangely, unexplained events keep happening and an atmosphere of impending dread has settled over the town. Has an ancient, long-buried evil has been unleashed upon the community?

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The Stars Did Wander Darkling

Colin Meloy

(Walker Books)

The Stars Did Wander Darkling is set in the late 1980s, in the coastal town of Seaham.  Three strangers have arrived in town, odd, unearthly characters.  It’s quickly clear that these three are conjured from a dark place. Their arrival in is not accidental but may be the result of the redevelopment of old property in the town.
Thirteen year-old Archie lives in Seaham and his father is in charge of the redevelopment. Archie’s best friends are avid environmentalists and are trying to stop the development of the property.  Archie’s father has called a halt to the redevelopment because of his discovery that the ground is full of caves and holes, making the land unsuitable to work on.  However, it is Archie’s fear that something evil may already have been released.
When Archie notices that the some of the adults in the town are starting to behave strangely, he feels the arrival of the strangers may in some way be connected. Furthermore, one of Archie’s friends starts having disturbing visions and black-outs.  Everything seems to Archie to have taken on a sinister edge.  When he and his friends begin to research the history of the town, they begin to suspect that the adults are not just acting strangely but might literally not be themselves.
This is a spooky and unsettling story, quite superbly written.  The chilling atmosphere is very well conjured and the strange events and tension expertly built up.


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