If Neil Gaiman wrote a dark version of Narnia with a dash of The Wizard of Oz- this would be it.
Twelve year old David is still mourning the loss of this mother, and adjusting (not so well really) to his fathers new wife and his new half brother. While a war wages on in Europe, they are tucked safely into a house on the countryside where David pours his time into his books. He begins to notice whispers from the books, of which only he can hear and one night, finds himself sucked into another world through a crack in the wall of a sunken garden in the yard.
This world is strange. From the wolf/human hybrids (descendant of a girl in a red cloak), to the seven socialist dwarfs, and the crooked man who seems to be lurking around every corner, David fights to survive in this strange world, coming soon to realize things weren’t so bad afterall at home. Davids storybook characters have seem to come to life, albeit grotesquely, and he isn’t sure he will ever be able to find his way home again.
Overall this was an enjoyable read, if dark and twisted at times. It was full of some of the most well known fairytales many of us have grown up with, with a warped, twisted edge to them. There was plenty of action and danger and something very nostalgic about childhood. Wanting to run away into a book is a feeling I am very familiar with, and to see David do just that was almost like living out a childhood fantasy. Davids progression from a petulant( if grieving) child, into a selfless and brave young man was really fascinating to read.
Also gotta give a shoutout to the audiobook narrator who really lent a great theatrical feel to the whole read. Steven Crossley really did the book justice with his performance!
Any fans of Neil Gaiman are sure to love this read, and is one I would for sure recommend to any of my readers middle grade and up!
Until next week friends!