A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: Digital ARC via Netgalley. It did not have many of the illustrations, but if the frontispiece is anything to go by, the illustrations should be good.
Me, handing in the review to the Review God: Here you go.
Review God: Wait, wait. You can’t give it five stars and then simply say because of Saint Eeyore.
Me: Why not?
Review God shakes bookshelves.
Me: But it mentions Saint Eeyore. That should be enough to make anyone read it. But okay fine. Give it here, I’ll add something.
Review God takes back the review: What’s this say? Your handwriting is horrible.
Me: Saint Eeyore, Stinkletoe Radishbottom, Lee the Harper, and William Shudderpike are all mentioned. Plus, there is a really funny hobbit title. Read this book now.
Review God delivers that stare with the glasses.
Me: Okay, fine, give it. Look, I can’t add more, if you don’t give it here.
Review God: You dictate, I’ll write.
Me: But if you’re a god, why do you need a pencil.
Review God shakes the bookshelves again.
Me: Alright, just wondering. Hamm. Let’s see. A Dreadful Fairy Book is a fairy tale that will charm readers of all ages. In theory a children’s book, the novel is a love parody . . .
Review God: that’s not a thing.
Me: It is now. Funk and Wagnalls said I could. So there. The novel is love parody poem to the joys and wonders of reading. It will make any long-time reader weep tears of passion. The story, supposedly related by Quentin Q Quacksworth Esq, who is a bit miffed at having to tell it, is about the heroine we have all been waiting for – Shade. A young sprite who goes on an epic quest to find another copy of her first book love, after her book and library were savagely destroyed. Along the way, she encounters various people and other characters, including a Professor who may actually be a professor, a troll who likes tea, and the “nephew of the second most prosperous cheesemaker in Bilgewater”.
The story includes fantasy titles of famous real-world works, such as Lee the Harper’s to Murder an Insulting Finch. There are fights, lost parents, owl wings, and changelings. Long the way, the reader will have to duel with Quacksworth who has gotten it into his head that this story should not be told. This is because he does not understand the wonder that is Shade, a beautifully flawed, book loving, sprite of color. She also has really cool wings, though flying makes her tummy feel funny. She can curse! The book even passes the Bechdel test.
There are a couple wonderful send ups of Tolkien as well as knightly fighting. There is a squire who knows his weaponry. A kick ass mother. There are references to family members’ body parts.
Review God: That’s disgusting.
Me: No, it’s not. You haven’t read the book. Look, if you are a reader, this is a book about reading. About how reading can bind a family together. How reading makes outcasts feel less outcastery. YES, I KNOW. How dangerous a lack of reading can be. If you read, you will love this book. Is that what you want Review God?
Review God: Yes.
Me: Okay, but we all know that everyone is really reading it for Saints Eeyore and Figgymigg. And the scene with the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
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