We LOVED this book!
Loved. I found it on some list or another, and was so thrilled once we got it that we did. I’ve renewed it twice so I could get a chance to write the review, which is going to include copying down a lot of quotes out of the book for myself. It’s marked up completely with sticky notes!
It only took until page 4 to completely hook me: “All children are heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb tall trees and say shocking things and leap so very high that grown-up hearts flutter in terror.”
“We all live inside the terrible engine of authority, and it grinds and shrieks and burns so that no one will say, lines on maps are silly. Where you live, the awful machinery is smaller, harder to see. Less honest, that’s all.”
“And besides, all witches must keep up a certain level of deviance in their personal lives, or we should be expelled from the union.”
“Very well, but I have tried to be a generous narrator and care for my girl as best I can. I cannot help that readers will always insist on adventures, and though you can have grief without adventures, you cannot have adventures without grief. ”
Is this a nod to the Hunger Games? See if it reminds you of anything: “The Marquess was very close as close as kissing. She smelled like beautiful, dying flowers.”
“Temperament, you’ll find, is highly dependent on time of day, weather, frequency of naps, and whether one has had enough to eat.”
Geek alert: Schrodinger’s cat?!?: “How shall I explain? It is both empty and full until one opens it. For when a box is shut, you cannot tell what it might contain, so you might as well say it contains everything, because really, it could contain anything, see? But when you open it, you affect what is inside. Observing something changes it, that’s a law, nothing to be done.”
“As all mothers know, children travel faster than kisses. The speed of kisses, in fact, Doctor Fallow would call a cosmic constant. The speed of children has no limits.”
“The point is gratitude, and how you ought to have it.”
“…which is a thing I may not describe to you. It is true that novelists are shameless and obey no decent law, and they are not to be trusted on any account, but some Mysteries even they must honor.”
“September seized it and threw it hard against the opposite wall in a fit of rage and frustration. She felt a little better. Breaking things heals a great many hurts. This is why children do it so often.”
For all these reasons and more, this is a great read-aloud book. Parents can get SO MUCH out of it. Kids will enjoy the adventures (explain what words mean, it’s okay that it’s HARD!) At the beginning of each chapter, there’s a ‘snippet’ that tells what the chapter is about. So if you’re reading chapter by chapter (like at night) you can catch them up by saying ‘okay when we left off this is what had just happened’.. or if parents are taking turns reading, it’s easy to catch each other up! I promise though, it’s something that you’ll all want to read together. I’m not sure if I’d pull for this to be a movie or not. I’m afraid it would be too messed up by turning it into a movie plot! Ack! But it is great!
Our 2 year old lost interest at times, but our 5 year old was hooked. It’s a great female lead, with supporting characters of all kinds of fascination (it is a fairytale afterall!) With nods to books like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, it’s sure to be a family favorite. As a note, there is some minor..detailing which might confuse some kids (some characters meet death as a figure, etc) but nothing overtly gruesome. There is so much wonderful descriptive detail and fun themes running throughout. PS there’s not a true fairytale ending… I could easily see this becoming a series, but is a great stand alone book. Note: it appears this is a series- I went to comment on it on amazon to give it some props and turns out there is more than one.. guess what we’ll be finding from the library next?!?