Friday, September 4, 2009

Never before has child thievery been so enjoyable!

When I first signed on to Boswell Book Company, Jason handed me a sizable stack of advanced reader copy books and told me to tell him what I thought. The pile has grown larger and larger as the days have passed, to the point where a few have been dismissed before their stories actually got rolling. Don't get me wrong, I try not to judge too hastily! But if a book can't hook me in the first few pages, I am not inclined to continue reading it.

I had a feeling that The Child Thief by Brom was going to be one of those swiftly-dismissed titles. Everything about it screamed mediocre fantasy/sci-fi mass market. Nevertheless, I put aside my reservations and picked it up. I skeptically flipped through the first few illustrated pages, noting that while they would look great in a graphic novel (Brom was an illustrator, after all), they seemed out of place in a novel.

Fast forward a couple hours. I'm hooked. Brom enticed me with the first page, and I never looked back. Except a couple times, at the artwork. Normally I wouldn't suggest you judge a book by the cover, but the cover of The Child Thief is fairly fantastic. The entire thing reads like some sort of twisted concoction of Peter Pan spliced with Lord of the Flies, with a hint of some darker horror film content.

One of our new bookseller additions, Jocelyn (or as I like to call her, J-Dog), also enjoyed the book...

"I've always been a sucker for fairy tales, both the classics (like Grimm's) and the retellings like those in the "White as Snow, Red as Blood" series edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. So when I saw The Child Thief, an adaptation of Peter Pan, I was interested. Brom,* in his debut adult novel, exploits some of the darkness in J. M. Barrie's original classic to create a wholly new world. Familiar characters -- such as Captain Hook and Princess Tiger Lily -- appear in different, more nuanced guises. Peter himself is portrayed as a much more ambiguous figure than the cheerful boy-hero of the original. Forget everything you saw in the Disney movie; The Child Thief has torture, murder, betrayal, and psychological torment. And that's just the good guys!

Brom uses elements of urban fantasy, blended with British myth to create a gritty fairy tale for grown-ups. I finished my copy about two days after I started it -- call in sick and you may finish yours even faster.

*(Yes, he only has one name. I was suspicious too. But he's primarily an artist, so we'll let it go this time.)"

And yes, she did add the footnote.

If this wasn't enough to convince you, there's always the fact that it's on the Boswell's Best list for September, and is thus 20% off.

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