Book Reviews

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, illustrated by Katie Harnett

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, also Freymann-Weyr (Goodreads Author), Katie Harnett (Goodreads Author) (Illustrations)Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

This is… a sad little book.

But it isn’t so much sad as in depressing, but sad as in: life is hard and it doesn’t always go the way we’d expect it to, we can’t have everything we want, and there’s sacrifices we have to make, whether we like it or not.

However, this book is written in tender, warm and fuzzy language that’ll make you feel like a child again, and that’s what I loved the most about it. It just feels whole-hearted all the way around. (By the way, if this were an objective review I’d give this 3 stars instead of 4.)

It’s hard to say much about the plot without spoiling half the story, but just know that it includes: magic that is hidden in plain sight, enchanted cats (one of which is named TATIANA!!!), an evil sorcerer, dragons with eyes and scales that come in every color, a bourgeois little girl with the warm-heartedness of a thousand suns, and enough kind souls to restore your faith in humanity.

Every chapter is headed by a full page illustration in black and white ink. The illustrations have that loose handmade folksy style that is so trendy nowadays.

The ending is… Not what you’d expect. The ending is the kind of thing I would have been super upset about as a child, so therefore, it would have been a great book to read in a class setting with guiding questions. There’s a LOT to discuss here, and I can see children having very strong opinions about this book for days.

I would recommend this to: young pensive children, and to adults who want to feel cozy before bedtime but also question themselves about the magics they may ignore on the daily.

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Book Reviews

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

THE COTTINGLEY FAIRIES ANA SENDERRating: 🍁🍁🍁

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is short and sweet, probably a good bedtime story for a young child. (I even read it with a Celtic cradle song in the background and it matched perfectly!)

The story is exactly everything you’ve heard about the Cottingley Fairies and nothing more; it doesn’t verge away from that or elaborate further. It even mentions Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fascination with the subject. 

The illustrations are gentle and sweet, with a rough-around-the-edges childlike quality to them. I felt they help to portray the story as the children saw it, since it describes them drawing, coloring, and cutting the fairies out of paper. It almost feels like Elsie herself drew the pictures. 

I would recommend this to very small children who would like to find fairies in the trees. 

This book comes out on March 5th, 2019!

Book Reviews

Little by Edward Carey

Little by Edward Carey

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

I won an ARC through Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Riverhead Books!

Little is one of the best books I’ve read not just in 2018, but ever.  (It also has one of the best first paragraphs I’ve ever read on anything.)

This is a fictionalized account of the life of Anna Maria Grosholtz, more commonly known as Madame Tussaud but also known as Marie. I’ve never been to the museums and never felt compelled or fascinated by wax figures, but even so,  this book will make you understand why people find them enthralling.

What is special about Little is that quirky gothicness that isn’t terribly dark or horrific. (Tim Burton-esque would be an okay comparison, for example.)

The story begins with Marie’s childhood in Berne, Switzerland, where she meets Dr. Curtis, a somber man who finds bones comforting and lives in a dreary house full of wax body parts. Marie is naturally attuned to this particular brand of wonder and eventually finds comfort in body parts and wax as well.

Her story is divided into the main chunks of her life: childhood, teenage years (some of which she lived in Versailles), young adulthood, etc.

The book contains tons of illustrations by Edward Carey. The drawings are understood to be drawn by Marie, who is an artist of more than only wax, and they mostly have an eerie, borderline unsettling quality that magnifies the gothic mood of the story.

This really is an excellent book. It’ll make you experience a lot of gloomy but delicate feelings, which is a very rare combination to find in any form of media.

I would recommend Little to: anyone looking for quirky gothicness that isn’t terribly dark, someone who hasn’t read something uniquely curious in a while, and fans of historical fiction.