Canary introduces the reader to Serafina ‘Sarie’ Holland, a college student living in Philadelphia with her father and brother, and Benjamin Wildey (pronounced will-dee), a police officer who comes from a long line of officers who have worked their hardest to clean up Philadelphia’s streets. After Sarie winds up in trouble for helping out a cute boy, she is forced to become a Confidential Informant for Officer Wildey, reporting on the drug world of South Philly. The book follows her progress as she worms her way into the drug world, only to realize she has always been a part of it. Philadelphia will never be the same.
I won’t lie; I picked up this book simply because of the catchy title and the colorful cover. It turns out that Duane Swiercsynski is a fantastic writer, and for the most part very thorough. This book is written from so many different points of view I nearly lost track. However, he managed to really get into every character so that after a sentence or so you knew who’s point of view you were reading from. Very well written and organized. I loved how human the characters were. They were swayed by emotion, but still intelligent and curious.
My only gripe is the ending. I knew things were wrapping up quickly, but I never would have guessed the direction they went in. The ultimate villain wasn’t developed as much as they could have been and felt like they were pulled out of thin air just for sake of using the character, while some of the minor villains were never explained at all. There was so much going on at the end in addition to Sarie’s confusion over who the actual enemy was, that I was left perplexed as to how we ended up where we did. If you exclude the unexplained ending and lack of showing some of the big scenes that would have helped develop some of the late-edition characters than I would give this book 5 stars. But ultimately the ending was so confusing that I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without some sort of warning label attached.
HHC Rating: 3.5 Stars