Quite honestly, a delight and true gem in the form of this brilliant story – and don’t worry about this being a book for kids. There is no age to enjoying a good tale, I tell you!
Jack is a normal boy, all in all. Like the kids his age nowadays, he’s obsessed with the social media and his phone. Technology is everything to him, and he can’t even begin to describe the horror of having to spend some time at the house of a distant relative named Gretel. But there’s more to the creepy woman than meets the eye – and Jack’s curiosity will lead him to revelations he might not be prepared for. Revelations that could possibly save his life – even if he’s about to be unwillingly turned into a fairy tale hero…
I loved this book! It’s clearly written for young readers, but the whole tale is wonderfully creepy. It was a joy to be scared at times when things would go awfully wrong, and the descriptions of certain scenes and locations did a fantastic job of keeping me on the edge of my seat and sending off freaky vibes. One thing I’ve learned about scary storytelling: if you mix it up with innocent, childlike things, it gets more than admirable results on setting the right mood. The carousel scene in the woods, the guardian that asked for dreams to let you pass, the cookie jar, they all helped in spooking me further and I couldn’t stop turning the pages! And the good guys not really being what we expected them to be? Pure gold!
Another thing I liked was how the book combined the classic fairy tale atmosphere with a protagonist that couldn’t care less for legends and fables. Jack was very much like the kids we know these days. Not only concerning their weird obsession with all things tech and the internet, missing out on so many things in life around them, but also being rude to their seniors and opportunistic. And while it may at first seem that such a hero is not what we’d want to help save the world, the adventures he goes through make him mature and see around him clearly and morally. It was the kind of character development that happened in stages and was much appreciated.
The story ends – of course – with a happy ending, as all fairy tales should. However, one interesting aspect is that of the WAY the happy ending occurred. In the end of the book, Hansel said something quite similar to what his sister said in the beginning. That could possibly indicate that it’s not exactly over yet – and it sets for a very nice, cliffhanger kind of method to tie the knot in this story.
I seriously hope to read more books in the future from H. Easson. Job well done, indeed!
***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***