I decided to read “Wink Poppy Midnight” by April Genevieve Tucholke because I am a fan of her debut novel, “By the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” (I am currently reading the sequel, “Between the Spark and the Burn”, and liking it well enough), and find her writing both enthralling and magical by moments. I like her as a writer and consider her to be very talented, which means I will likely read all of her work as it keeps coming out.
Tucholke has mastered a certain lyrical style that fits the mood, ambience, and themes of her stories to perfection. In this sense, “Wink Poppy Midnight” doesn’t disappoint. The same enthralling writing is still there, even though I would like to point out it felt a bit more unrealistic this time around. To a certain degree, the author needs to subtly separate his or herself, and her underlying voice, from the characters she writes and who they are. At moments, especially when it came to Wink, Tucholke’s own voice seemed to impregnate the character and the narration completely, and I couldn’t tell if it was Wink or Tucholke speaking, and this detracted from the “realness” of the character itself.
Wink shines best when viewed through the eyes of Midnight, who idealizes her, but Midnight himself I found to be a weak character, probably the weakest of the trio. I didn’t understand how he could not react more strongly to certain events in the plot, and grew frustrated with this, but I could not tell if this was just a part of his character or if it showed a lack in Tucholke’s writing and interpretation of him. Writing boys is different than writing girls, they are by nature much more aggressive and upfront, but Midnight I found to be passive, malleable, and easily manipulated, which annoyed me. However, this could just be a matter of personal taste.
The best character, the most fleshed out, and vivid, and realistic, and understandable character was by far the “villain” of the Story: Poppy. Followed by mystical Wink, and then by Midnight.
Speaking of the story, there is not really a defined plot to it, which is totally okay with me. The characters decide the events of the story, they are the ones furthering the plot along, and one character in particular is the mastermind of all that happens. There are several twists and turns, more than I could predict, which was great, because I love a good surprise.
One character is a hero, one character is a villain, and one character is a liar… or so the blurb of this book goes. What’s fascinating is finding out exactly who is who, and if any of them fit any of these labels exactly (Spoiler: They don’t. We’re all human, we’re all a mix of everything, both good and bad, and nothing is ever what it seems).
The one point, the one single point which I found confusing and which prevents me from giving this book a higher rating, is the fact that I didn’t understand the primary motive of the book’s most enigmatic character. I didn’t understand why they did everything they did… and for what reason. And frankly, if I don’t understand the reason, the aftertaste of this leaves me feeling that the character is sort of psychopathic/sociopathic, and maybe even the true villain of it all. It would have been nice to have a bit more clarity regarding this character’s motive.
Besides that, this is a fun, entertaining, and suspenseful read.
Coming up: HUNTED by Meagan Spooner