This is part of a blog tour with Red Door Publishing.
The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is the second novel written by Hattie Holden-Edmonds.
Oskar is the ultimate teenage loner who thrives on painting other people’s misery. However, after a ‘not-so-routine’ eye test, his bleak perspective is transformed after trying on a pair of very unusual lenses. The world he sees is filled with beautiful colours, happiness, and wonder – not what Oskar wants at all.
The story is original and interesting, and I enjoyed the wry tone Hattie uses.
As the title would suggest, the book centres on Oskar Dunkelblick. Hattie does a great job at making him the focus of the novel, as his character is incredibly interesting and detailed.
Oskar is quite a remarkable person; he enjoys tragedies, misery, is fascinated by diseases and is generally an oddball. He reminded me of Alex from Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange, and though he might be cruel at times, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Oskar’s personality.
The magical and psychological elements of the narrative were okay, if a little lost on me, and personally, the idea of seeing the continuous beauty within life came across slightly little wishy-washy, but that’s personal preference.
I thought the front cover is creative and fun, and its focus on the eyes may be another unintentional stylistic similarity to A Clockwork Orange.
I really enjoyed the flashbacks to Oskar’s past – they were well integrated into the narrative and the scenes recounting how he controlled and altered the life of his ex-friend Franz were some of my favourite parts. The flashbacks helped demonstrate how Oskar’s prickly personality has been formed by a tragic upbringing and past relationships.
However, despite these sadder scenes, The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is definitely less bleak than A Clockwork Orange. The ending was surprisingly happy, and Hattie even includes a small, sweet, love story.
I’m curious to learn why the book was set in Germany with German characters – it certainly made a change from typical young adult fiction which always tends to take place in an English or American setting. If you know why it was set in Germany, do let me know!
Star Rating: 4/5 stars
The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is available to buy as a paperback from Amazon UK.