Gretel and the Dark

It is many years before the Pied Piper comes back for the other children.

Tightly knit Gothic horror story (or fairy tale?) that gives the reader enough imagery to fill hours of film with.

Gretel in the Dark shows that (opposed to some recently read novels) that a story doesn’t necessarily need likable characters to be enticing. Krysta’s ‘won’ts’ and ‘shant’s’ are grating and the delusions and anger of Josef, Gudrun and Lilie aren’t very appealing either. And yet, the reader carries on, curious-anxious to untie the knot.

There are two sides to this – possibly – same story. There is Krysta, who lives next to a zoo for human-animals with her father and ever-suffering maid and then there is ‘Lilie’, a confused woman whom is sure she is a machine that needs to kill ‘the monster’. Per chapter the years swap, until the lines are starting to fade.

Gretel in the Dark is a chew-able story, give it a chance to get through and it will linger for a long time.

Gretel and the Dark, Eliza Granville, Hamish Hamilton 2014

A Monster Calls

The monster showed up just after midnight.

A fairy tale, not Disney-fied, about a boy and his mother and a monster in the shape of a yew tree. Patrick Ness took the idea from the passed away Siobhan Dowd and ran with it wonderfully. Another YA book (it’s advised for 13 and up) that delivers and shows there’s more than Twilight or Divergent.

Conor’s mother is ill, seriously ill. She knows, he knows, his whole world knows but they all ignore it and that’s the thing he can’t handle. And than there’s a nightmare attacking him at night and a monster in front of his window, every night at 12:07, making not even his own bed a safe place.

Patrick Ness keeps his honest brutality away from this story that winds and weaves like a wisp of (fairy tale) mist. Something is building, and it will be tough to not keep turning pages until it’s clear what precisely.

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness, Walker Books 2011