A Dreadful Fairy Book
by Jon Etter
“It’s-a nothing! Just a silly misunderstanding that might get us all killed.”
Shade is a sprite who lives in a happy-go-lucky village but who herself, isn’t quite as cheery. When her house filled with her much-loved books is burned down in a fireworks display she journeys away to find a library to spend her days in. Along the way she runs into some interesting characters; a bridge-troll who delights in a good set of manners, a fearless knight who just may be a little bit obsessed with chivalry and a handful of other eccentric beings.
The story is broken up into chapters that act almost as titles to short stories that make up the whole of the book. Each chapter has Shade in a new complicated circumstance with a new set of challenges on her journey whether it be her annoying (and hilarious) companions rubbing her the wrong way, or a new person met along the path. The book is told from the point of view of the narrator, almost a character themself, telling Shade’s story as if reading it from a book sitting on their lap and occasionally adding their own thoughts and commentary. This is a fun effect that makes the book feel like an old fairytale, one that might have been read to you as a child, only of course it is not because it contains 110% more wit and 200% more fairy swear words than Cinderella.
Shade is a dreadful character (perhaps the reason for the title?) in that she never sees the sense of adventure that many of the other characters do like Ginch or The Professor. Those two are the real reason to read this book (and Chauncy of course, can’t forget my manners) because they offer a whimsical comic relief that is weaved through with true wit that makes the book that much more enjoyable. Overall, the book was a fun adventure with a truly amusing narration style that was refreshing and fun to read and feel like I was a part of. I would recommend this book to all ages for the most part, it truly feels entertaining and meant for most ages, though I believe that middle-grade and young adult readers may appreciate it the most.