Jack follows the fairy tale motif and heads to the city to seek his fortune. He then almost immediately goes crazy because the city is filled with toys. And not just any toys. These toys are alive and they’re running the place.
Well, sort of. The most important members of Toy Town are the humans. And they aren’t just any humans: these are the humans from the nursery rhymes and fairy tales themselves and they make sure the toys know they’re just toys. Mother Goose runs a brothel, Little Boy Blue owns a house of couture, and Little Tommy Tucker is the most popular rock star in Town. He’s also the only rock star in Town, but that’s not the point.
The point is that they’re all getting murdered.
Jack meets up with Eddie the bear. Eddie is Bill Winkie’s bear. Bill Winkie is a super popular detective. He’s so popular that Jack has read all of his books and knows how the story works.
But Bill Winkie is missing and it’s up to Eddie and Jack to solve the crime before more rich and famous get killed.
I like wacky zany writing. I’m a fan of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Christopher Moore and other authors who write while winking and nudging the reader. This is not easy to do. You can’t be too clever and you can’t be too cute. You can’t try too hard.
Rankin didn’t do it for me. There were parts that I thought were amusing and clever, but overall I felt like he was trying too hard and it just wasn’t working. I loved the idea and the characters, but his writing style didn’t grab me. Maybe I was comparing him too much to other authors, but I felt like he tried and failed.
I did really like Eddie. He’s a fantastic character with some great one-liners and the wacky zany reality completely worked for him. Maybe that’s why the rest of the book didn’t hold up. It was clear that Rankin could do it for Eddie, but couldn’t do it for everyone and everything else.
I also didn’t like the ending. It suddenly turned into something else, then whipped around into a different ending. Maybe it felt too cute or too over the top, but it just didn’t work for me.
I can see why people like this book. It did have its moments, but for me, it did not live up to the hype.