Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: March 2012
Rownie has spent his childhood living with the witch Graba, doing chores and jobs for her and hoping that his older brother Rowan will return. But, since Rowan became an actor and acting has been outlawed, Rowan hasn't been seen in ages. Rownie decides to set out in search of him and takes up with a goblin troupe, dangerously toeing the line when it comes to acting. Will he be able to find Rowan in time?
Things I Liked:
This was a strange and fascinating story. I was truly absorbed into the details and the world and I loved how the author used a few words that almost seemed like real words, but then there would be a letter changed and it would provide just enough of a different feel that you couldn't quite be sure if you were in his fantasy world or the real one. (That probably made no sense and was a dreadful run-on sentence, but I can't figure out how to say it any differently.) I was drawn into Rownie's fate and worried for him and wondered about him all the way to the end. A strange and beautifully written almost-fairy-tale of a story.
Things I Didn't Like:
Looking back at it, the story itself was kind of not much. It seemed like things were happening, and they were, but I'm not sure what the point was or where it was headed. At the time, I was completely invested (that writing really draws you in, not to mention the world building), but I think the ending kind of disappointed me as well with its quick wrap-up. Still, I think it would make a fun read-aloud!
Reminded me of Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
Also, The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
some danger and fighting, but not really any violence
Overall rating: ****
Have you read this National Book Award winner? I'm wondering about its appeal to kids, since I haven't heard much about it since it won.
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage